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The Dark Side of Media and Technology

A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy

Edited By Edward Downs

The Dark Side of Media and Technology: A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy is Herculean in its effort to survey for landmines in a rapidly changing media landscape. The book identifies four dark outcomes related to media and technology use in the 21st century, and balances the dark side with four points of light that are the keys to taking ownership of a media- and technology-saturated world. The text contains an impressive list of multi-disciplinary experts and cutting-edge researchers who approach 25 separate dark side issues with concise, highly readable chapters, replete with unique recommendations for navigating our mediated present and future.

The Dark Side of Media and Technology is grounded in theory and current research, but possesses an appeal similar to a page-turning dystopian novel; as a result, this volume should be of interest to scholars, students, and curious lay-readers alike. It should be the "go-to" text for anyone who is interested in learning what the research says about how we use media and technology, as well as how media and technology use us.

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Chapter One: Dark Matters (Edward Downs / Aaron R. Boyson)


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Dark Matters


I find your lack of faith disturbing.


Forty-six authors have produced 25 chapters, 297 pages, and approximately 118,000 words, all assembled into one book which seeks to shed some light on the darker matters of our relationship with media and technology. Nevertheless, let us get something clear upfront: “media and technology can do great things.” This may seem like an odd way to begin a book that plumbs the depths of our relationships with technological devices and media systems of all sorts, but it is important for the reader to recognize and understand that this book isn’t simply about media bashing. Many of the contributing authors owe their livelihoods to media and technology in some manner of speaking, and all contributors have immersed themselves in some facet of media and technology professionally, academically, and socially. We get it. But at the end of the day, this is a Dark Side book, and exploring all the positive contributions of media and technology wouldn’t make for a very interesting Dark Side chat, now would it?

Media and technology can do great things, but such an assertion, while commonsense and true, contains within it a fair amount of mischief. The word “great,” for instance, is thorny. The internal combustion engine was a great invention that continues to do great things for people. It...

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