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Technological Constructions of Reality: An Ontological Perspective
Unformatted Document Text:  Running Head: TECHNOLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY in their daily lives. For example, when heavy hypermedia users spend a lot of time text messaging, this impacts their interpersonal communication skills (Reid & Reid, 2007; Jin & Peña, 2010), language and grammar usage (Haggan, 2007; Sweeney, 2010), and perception of communication rate (Van Cleemput, 2010). The format of hypermedia technology lends itself to impacting the symbolic representations of visual, textual, and aural media by making them more pervasive, convenient, and instantaneous. This effect recalls Barbatsis’ (1999) concepts of contingency and amalgamation and their impact on synaesthesia. Through the pervasiveness of hypermedia, multiple constructs of reality are presented to the user simultaneously as the user interacts with others face-to-face, through mobile technology as well as through the Internet. Redirecting attention between these varying platforms affects how the user perceives a holistic view of reality as the user is asked to switch between multiple constructs of reality. Through mobile technology, reality is confined to the height and width of the phone screen, through the Internet nonverbal communication is altered where emphasis is placed on textual and graphic imagery, and in face-to-face communication the user may be overwhelmed by the varying degree of nonverbal and verbal communication that is used. However, Internet communication may also blur the lines of reality for the user where technologies like Skype and VoIP allow the user to speak in real time through video to another person, in which it imitates offline face-to-face communication. These various forms of hypermedia in turn impact how the media user builds constructs of reality through her interaction with the media. However, all of these interactions do not occur in a cultural vacuum. As each media user interacts with media in her or his cultural context, cultural norms and roles affect the extent to which this impact occurs. The degree to which the technology is available within society depends on socioeconomic demographics as 20

Authors: Vincent, Cindy.
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in their daily lives.  For example, when heavy hypermedia users spend a lot of time text 
messaging, this impacts their interpersonal communication skills (Reid & Reid, 2007; Jin & 
Peña, 2010), language and grammar usage (Haggan, 2007; Sweeney, 2010), and perception of 
communication rate (Van Cleemput, 2010).
The format of hypermedia technology lends itself to impacting the symbolic 
representations of visual, textual, and aural media by making them more pervasive, convenient, 
and instantaneous.  This effect recalls Barbatsis’ (1999) concepts of contingency and 
amalgamation and their impact on synaesthesia.  Through the pervasiveness of hypermedia, 
multiple constructs of reality are presented to the user simultaneously as the user interacts with 
others face-to-face, through mobile technology as well as through the Internet.  Redirecting 
attention between these varying platforms affects how the user perceives a holistic view of 
reality as the user is asked to switch between multiple constructs of reality.  Through mobile 
technology, reality is confined to the height and width of the phone screen, through the Internet 
nonverbal communication is altered where emphasis is placed on textual and graphic imagery, 
and in face-to-face communication the user may be overwhelmed by the varying degree of 
nonverbal and verbal communication that is used.  However, Internet communication may also 
blur the lines of reality for the user where technologies like Skype and VoIP allow the user to 
speak in real time through video to another person, in which it imitates offline face-to-face 
communication.  These various forms of hypermedia in turn impact how the media user builds 
constructs of reality through her interaction with the media.  However, all of these interactions 
do not occur in a cultural vacuum.  As each media user interacts with media in her or his cultural 
context, cultural norms and roles affect the extent to which this impact occurs.  The degree to 
which the technology is available within society depends on socioeconomic demographics as 

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