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Technological Constructions of Reality: An Ontological Perspective
Unformatted Document Text:  Running Head: TECHNOLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY patterns, hypermediated users are now controlling the format of their messages even more, in turn constructing the reality of how they communicate. McLuhan’s (McLuhan & Zingrone, 1995) concept of the extension of man helps to explicate this concept. According to McLuhan, through interaction with media humans can see farther across the world to places they’ve never physically visited before; they can hear of news about countries they’ve never heard of before; and they can speak to people across innumerable miles and at any time of day or night. Instant electronic media technology has extended the physical being of humans to be able to perceive the world in a new way that was never available before the innovations of communicative technology. According to McLuhan (McLuhan & Zingrone, 1995), people use sensorial data to construct their reality; their use of a primary medium affects how they collect this data, in turn affecting their perception of reality. This perception effect mirrors the assumptions of social constructionism in that media technology now shapes how we perceive the world. All of a sudden, speaking to someone in Uganda does not seem that farfetched, communicating with someone at all hours of the day is now a reality, and the perceptions of these realities are transformed to where people lose site of where the message began and the medium ended. This in turn impacts what Berger and Luckmann (1966) call the subjective social reality. As noted above, this consists of tangible/verifiable meanings and objects; symbolic representations through visual, textual and aural media; and is compared against culturally defined interpretations. When examining the role of hypermedia technology in this context it effects the perception of tangible/verifiable meaning and objects by transforming their appearance as instant, convenient and spanning space and time limitations. Through communicating in a hypermediated context, users then transform those qualities to other aspects 19

Authors: Vincent, Cindy.
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Running Head: TECHNOLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY
patterns, hypermediated users are now controlling the format of their messages even more, in 
turn constructing the reality of how they communicate.
McLuhan’s (McLuhan & Zingrone, 1995) concept of the extension of man helps to 
explicate this concept.   According to McLuhan, through interaction with media humans can see 
farther across the world to places they’ve never physically visited before; they can hear of news 
about countries they’ve never heard of before; and they can speak to people across innumerable 
miles and at any time of day or night.  Instant electronic media technology has extended the 
physical being of humans to be able to perceive the world in a new way that was never available 
before the innovations of communicative technology.  According to McLuhan (McLuhan & 
Zingrone, 1995), people use sensorial data to construct their reality; their use of a primary 
medium affects how they collect this data, in turn affecting their perception of reality.  This 
perception effect mirrors the assumptions of social constructionism in that media technology 
now shapes how we perceive the world.  All of a sudden, speaking to someone in Uganda does 
not seem that farfetched, communicating with someone at all hours of the day is now a reality, 
and the perceptions of these realities are transformed to where people lose site of where the 
message began and the medium ended.
This in turn impacts what Berger and Luckmann (1966) call the subjective social reality. 
As noted above, this consists of tangible/verifiable meanings and objects; symbolic 
representations through visual, textual and aural media; and is compared against culturally 
defined interpretations.  When examining the role of hypermedia technology in this context it 
effects the perception of tangible/verifiable meaning and objects by transforming their 
appearance as instant, convenient and spanning space and time limitations.  Through 
communicating in a hypermediated context, users then transform those qualities to other aspects 
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