Convenience Culture

I was recently surfing through Amazon and could not stop thinking about how dramatically online capabilities have altered traditional shopping. You no longer have to leave the couch or ask an associate if they have more sizes in the back. You may not bring a friend, but who needs one? Algorithms pull items according to your taste and other shoppers post lengthy reviews that can reaffirm or negate your concerns.

This reminds me again of that Winston Churchill quote used by Sherry Turkle in Alone Together: “We shape buildings and then they shape us.” Computer’s reshaping of culture goes beyond shopping – it creates new consumer expectations for all brands/companies.

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New Media, New Rules

Where do we draw the line between old and new media? How does this shift impact media creation and consumption? This week I had the pleasure of trudging through some fairly technical excerpts that explore these questions and more.

First, Lev Manovich’s The Language of New Media distills blockbuster movies, glossy magazines and multimedia websites into algorithms. This reduction to numerical data references how we transitioned from printing press to Wikipedia. To pinpoint the shift from old to new, Manovich leads with a detailed but separate history of media (e.g., radio, print, film, etc.) and computer.

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