Of all the aspects and interpretations of the term ‘media ecology’, the idea that has struck me most is the notion of dynamism. Fuller captures this when he says, “The term ‘ecology’ is used here because it is one of the most expressive language currently has to indicate the massive and dynamic interrelation of processes and objects, beings and things, patterns and matter….” (Fuller 2005)
Lance Strate’s definition, where the focus is on the idea that “technology and techniques, modes of information and codes of communication play a leading role in human affairs,” is crucial in understanding that media ecology does express a sense of dynamism. How can something that is so closely connected to humanity be static and unchanging?
In looking at the different elements (particularly in Strate’s definition), it becomes clearer that ‘ecology’ is indeed the most appropriate term. To a certain extent we can call it a network but it fails to capture the dynamic essence of the way media and society interact. Nor is ‘chain’ accurate enough, for we established last week that each element has an influence upon the other. I can’t say that the technology and techniques are what create new modes of information and codes of communication alone. ‘Ecology’ illustrates the complexity of the system.
But why is it so important to use the term ‘media ecology’ and understand it? Tomas, in his blog A Great Becoming, sees the term ‘media ecology’ as “an approach that offers us new ways of viewing the world. Once you start to see media as networked – connected – then the realisation of this confluence changes how you approach design.” I think he makes a really important point; understanding how we are connected to media either through influence or being influenced, will change how we respond to it.
Therefore, it’s important that we see look at media, society, culture, technology, techniques, communication, information, etc., all as part of media ecology and understand that they all feed off each other and play a vital role in the evolution of media and society.
Final project: In terms of the final research paper, understanding the complexity of media ecologies is something I need to keep in mind when choosing a specific topic, because everything is in some way interrelated.
Fuller, Matthew (2005) ‘Introduction: Media Ecologies’ in Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture Cambridge, MA; MIT Press: 1-12
Media Ecology Association ‘What is Media Ecology’ <http://www.media-ecology.org/media_ecology/>
‘Media Ecology’, Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_ecology>