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New Media, Communication, and Society

A Fast, Straightforward Examination of Key Topics

Mary Ann Allison and Cheryl A. Casey

New Media, Communication, and Society is a fast, straightforward examination of key topics which will be useful and engaging for both students and professors. It connects students to wide-ranging resources and challenges them to develop their own opinions. Moreover, it encourages students to develop media literacy so they can speak up and  make a difference in the world. Short chapters with lots of illustrations encourage reading and provide a springboard for conversation inside and outside of the classroom. Wide-ranging topics spark interest. Chapters include suggestions for additional exploration, a media literacy exercise, and a point that is just for fun. Every chapter includes thought leaders, ranging from leading researchers to business leaders to entrepreneurs, from Socrates to Doug Rushkoff and Lance Strate to Bill Gates.

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11 Rewiring Our Social, Political, and Intellectual Lives (Cheryl A. Casey)

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CHAPTER 11

Rewiring Our Social, Political, and Intellectual Lives

Cheryl A. Casey

How deep is the well?

Web designer Jason Gross (2011) has described the following scenario to explain the importance of understanding a medium’s form: In the middle of a vast dessert is a deep well. Imagine, if you will, that the well is the medium (as a book, movie, or the Internet would be) and the water is the message. The state of the well can lead to all kinds of outcomes. If the well is rich and reliable, then it would quite likely become the center of travel routes and perhaps the nucleus of a sustainable population. If the well is inaccessible, unreliable, contaminated, or even just undiscovered, it could not support life. The whole point is the well, not the water; without the well, the water is of no use.

The consequences of medium form, therefore, are much more far-reaching than just the effects on message content.

Television entertains, but does it inform?

Media have a profound effect on all kinds of things in our society and in our world, for better and for worse. Media scholar and thought leader Neil Postman devoted many books to this topic. Among his more well-known books is Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985). The main idea of this book is that our culture is defined by whatever communication medium or media forms we...

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