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Technological Constructions of Reality: An Ontological Perspective
Unformatted Document Text:  Running Head: TECHNOLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY Since McLuhan’s insightful prophecies of new media were first asserted, many other scholars have since built upon these concepts (Meyrowitz, 1994; Ellis, 1999; Cavell, 1999; Merrin, 2002; Hodge, 2003; Sui & Goodchild, 2003; Peters, 2004; MacDonald, 2006). One of the more contemporary extensions that also relates to social constructionism is that of Donald Ellis (1999). Ellis builds off Innis and McLuhan’s assertion that the mainstream media of any given time period will play a role in shaping the cultural definitions and perceptions of reality by members of society who consume it. According to Ellis (1999), “as media change, so do the ways in which we think, manage information, and relate to one another.” Current media scholars have also extended McLuhan’s initial theory of medium to address the existence of new media like the Internet and mobile technology. Of the new concepts that have been established to explain new media, David Holmes’ (2005) concept of social integration and social interaction approaches help explicate the difference in media uses between generations. According to Holmes (2005), the social interaction approach identifies media by their similarity to the basic model of face-to-face interaction. With newer forms of media, users are able to engage in media that closely replicate face-to-face interaction through channels like instant messaging or VoIP, which allow for instantaneous feedback and visual cues. On the other hand, the social integration approach is not concerned with interaction or message conveyance but instead focuses on how people use media to establish communities. With social integration, the focus is not how individuals interact with one another but how they interact with their chosen medium. The concept of interaction with media versus people has led to other theoretical constructs like the media-equation theory. This theory asserts that people interact with and use media as if media were animate objects (Reeves & Nass, 1996). Daniel Johnson and John 9

Authors: Vincent, Cindy.
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Running Head: TECHNOLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY
Since McLuhan’s insightful prophecies of new media were first asserted, many other 
scholars have since built upon these concepts (Meyrowitz, 1994; Ellis, 1999; Cavell, 1999; 
Merrin, 2002; Hodge, 2003; Sui & Goodchild, 2003; Peters, 2004; MacDonald, 2006).  One of 
the more contemporary extensions that also relates to social constructionism is that of Donald 
Ellis (1999).  Ellis builds off Innis and McLuhan’s assertion that the mainstream media of any 
given time period will play a role in shaping the cultural definitions and perceptions of reality by 
members of society who consume it.  According to Ellis (1999), “as media change, so do the 
ways in which we think, manage information, and relate to one another.” 
Current media scholars have also extended McLuhan’s initial theory of medium to 
address the existence of new media like the Internet and mobile technology.  Of the new 
concepts that have been established to explain new media, David Holmes’ (2005) concept of 
social integration and social interaction approaches help explicate the difference in media uses 
between generations.  According to Holmes (2005), the social interaction approach identifies 
media by their similarity to the basic model of face-to-face interaction.  With newer forms of 
media, users are able to engage in media that closely replicate face-to-face interaction through 
channels like instant messaging or VoIP, which allow for instantaneous feedback and visual 
cues.  On the other hand, the social integration approach is not concerned with interaction or 
message conveyance but instead focuses on how people use media to establish communities. 
With social integration, the focus is not how individuals interact with one another but how they 
interact with their chosen medium. 
The concept of interaction with media versus people has led to other theoretical 
constructs like the media-equation theory.  This theory asserts that people interact with and use 
media as if media were animate objects (Reeves & Nass, 1996).  Daniel Johnson and John 
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