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Technological Constructions of Reality: An Ontological Perspective
Unformatted Document Text:  Running Head: TECHNOLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY to coincide and interact with the user to build co-constructions of reality for the user. As these studies have shown, media play a role in the construction of reality for those who engage interaction. However, mass media and new media researchers who apply social constructionism to media impact neglect to look at how the existence of, use of and interaction with the technologies themselves and the impact on how individuals construct their realities. When using technology that allows an individual to instantly communicate with anyone across the globe at anytime of day or night, the construction of how that individual perceives her place in the world and communicative relationship with others shifts. This theory should now be applied to new media technologies and focus on not only the messages that are conveyed, but also the actual engagement with the technology itself. Barnes (2000) began to look into this impact with her study on interactive computers but more research should be conducted on how the actual existence of and interaction with technology begin to shape the perception of reality for everyday users. The next theory will further explicate the role media play in reality construction as well as its impact on the relationship between people and the relationship with media. The Medium as Message: Medium Theory In conjunction with social constructionism and the roles media play in that construction, medium theory also addresses the impact media have on individuals and society. Medium theory asserts, “changes in communication technology inevitably produce profound changes in both culture and social order” (Baran & Davis, 2006, p. 302). The foundational constructs for this theory are mainly attributed to Marshall McLuhan although his ideas were greatly influenced by his mentor, Harold Innis (Oosterhoff, 2001). Innis’ concept of media focused on the relationship between communication media and societal structures and power relationships throughout 7

Authors: Vincent, Cindy.
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to coincide and interact with the user to build co-constructions of reality for the user.
As these studies have shown, media play a role in the construction of reality for those 
who engage interaction.  However, mass media and new media researchers who apply social 
constructionism to media impact neglect to look at how the existence of, use of and interaction 
with the technologies themselves and the impact on how individuals construct their realities. 
When using technology that allows an individual to instantly communicate with anyone across 
the globe at anytime of day or night, the construction of how that individual perceives her place 
in the world and communicative relationship with others shifts.  This theory should now be 
applied to new media technologies and focus on not only the messages that are conveyed, but 
also the actual engagement with the technology itself.  Barnes (2000) began to look into this 
impact with her study on interactive computers but more research should be conducted on how 
the actual existence of and interaction with technology begin to shape the perception of reality 
for everyday users.  The next theory will further explicate the role media play in reality 
construction as well as its impact on the relationship between people and the relationship with 
The Medium as Message: Medium Theory
In conjunction with social constructionism and the roles media play in that construction, 
medium theory also addresses the impact media have on individuals and society.  Medium theory 
asserts, “changes in communication technology inevitably produce profound changes in both 
culture and social order” (Baran & Davis, 2006, p. 302).  The foundational constructs for this 
theory are mainly attributed to Marshall McLuhan although his ideas were greatly influenced by 
his mentor, Harold Innis (Oosterhoff, 2001).  Innis’ concept of media focused on the relationship 
between communication media and societal structures and power relationships throughout 

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