Week 4 Mediation: Space

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The main concept of this reading is the influence of alternative media types such as the internet and telephone in contributing to the doubling of space, the concept introduced by Scannell’s (1996) reading. Scannell argued that broadcasting through television and radio allowed “public events to occur, simultaneously in two different places: the place of the event itself and that in which it was watched and heard” (Moores, p. 21), or “constructing experiences of simultaneity, liveness and immediacy” (Moores, p. 104).  

In this reading, Moore reflects upon the shifting boundaries of place in the creation of electronic societies and virtual spaces. He notes the emergence of an electronic culture, which is seeing a shift from physical space to placeless spaces or a combination of both. As Meyrowitz notes in his writing and as highlighted by Moores, “electronically mediated communication transcends the boundaries of physical settings, making these boundaries more permeable” (Moores, p.23).

Using the three examples of television, internet and mobile phones Moore notes how broadcasting allowed people to become involved in events from external locations, thereby creating a sense of first hand reality, and the formation a care structures within the community. I do recall the emotions and connections associated with the viewing of the September 11 attacks as they occurred and were broadcast on television. While having no association with the event of any of those persons affected, simply viewing the event made me feel as if I was directly affected by, and involved with, it. This is the concept of bringing public events into the private domain.

I found it interesting to note how the use of the internet has lead to the creation of virtual worlds, enabling users to almost adopt a completely different life and persona. This is the concept of “overlaying of the physical place in which my body resides”.  (Kendall 2002). I can relate to this through the use of Facebook, and its ability to enable you to become completely engrossed in creating your own and tracking others ‘real, yet virtual lives’, with almost not recognition of your actual physical space. I found it interesting that Hay in his ‘My Space?’ reading he argues through the example of the virutal My Space application that its use can lead to a more “well managed, connected and thus healthier life” (Hay, p.75).

While in some circumstances, these activities can foster the creation of relationships and connections amongst users, I do question the degree to which this media type should be permitted to influence individual’s lives. As noted in Moores reading, virtual spaces allowed one user to act out his emotion problems through a fantasy alias, “without every satisfactorily resolving them”. Are virtual realities through certain media types simply fostering greater social problems within our society? I believe that physical interaction is an important social tool and the extent to which media types can impact on this should be monitored. Users should be able to interact with their physical space.

The ability to interact with events not within your current physical realm is also highlighted by Hay in his ‘My Space?’ reading where he recognises the link between communication and transportation and “overcoming the problem of distance through technologies of transport” (Hay, p. 74) such as mobile phones and internet.

All the broadcasting concepts outlined by Moores have meant there is no longer the need for a shared physical location. Giddens notes these changing arrangements of proximity and distance, and I have noted that this absence seems to result in people being more willing to share their experiences with strangers or distant friend connections (through internet sites and text messaging). Media setting is overlaying the physical location creating the pluralisation of being in place.

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