Monday, July 13, 2009
The Medium and the Message
Today is Anna Shea’s birthday--in the US. Since it was already the 14th in France when she was born, we’ve always celebrated it on Bastille Day in France; when she was young, and we’d go out for the fireworks at dinner, it always seemed a particularly gracious thing for the country to do on her birthday. We’re thinking of her today.
We’ve been having computer problems, so this week has seen an unusual combination of reading mail on webmail, regular email program (I hate the term “email client”), and iPhone. Michael, of course, has a womba wireless network set up, so all our devices work in the apartment. It’s interesting how much the medium affects the message: I notice different things in email depending on the platform in which I read them. On the iPhone, for example, sometimes I miss the end of long messages. On webmail, much of the emphasis present in Mail is gone, because fonts and colors seem to disappear. Thus, in a conversation where someone cuts and pastes to respond to different comments, it’s hard to follow the thread in webmail.
The same thing happens in Facebook vs. Twitter: same length messages, by and large, but different emphasis, in ways I haven’t quite figured out. Plus, since I don’t do twitter on my phone (refuse to pay ATT’s ridiculous texting charges), it has a different emphasis. Not sure what any of this means, if anything; need to keep thinking about it and see if it’s possible to tease out more of the effects. Some are subtle, some are not, but the medium definitely affects the message. On reflection, I’ve been saying “not sure what this means” a lot lately. Coming to terms with the residual effects of the surgery/tumor seems to be leaving things in that state just now. I guess we’ll know more next week.
It’s a hazy day here, so the draw of the sun and beach are cooperating with the workplan: today is writing and project-based work. Plus, of course, thinking about the wonderful Shea, in today's pictures.