As much as I wanted to believe it once upon a time, technology is not neutral. A communications medium which becomes dominant at a given time shapes the culture in which it dominates, for good or bad. Books once shaped culture. Now it’s something else. Why do we obsess over politics and argue about it constantly? Only because 24-hour television needed an audience and taught people to care by generating controversy. Then the Internet came along. Social media has an unlimited “news hole” to fill, so everything became news. Before we knew it, everyone around us had been trained to obsess about the daily matches between Team Red and Team Blue. None of this would have happened without the need of television and the commercial Internet to capture attention for others’ profit. Almost everybody has become a slave to the needs of this technology — and most don’t even remember life before it was this way. Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman were right.
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