Media philosopher Marshall McLuhan observed that “The Medium is the Message”. That is, the form of media is what changes consciousness irrespective of the content of that media.
Michael Wesch speculates that the accessibility of the internet both to add and receive content is leading to a massive paradigm shift in human thought and society.
The internet still follows the fundamental form of the written word and the motion picture: non-participatory reception of information.
The exact interface of scripting language is irrelevant. The internet is essentially a series of Guttenberg presses and Edison kinetoscopes connected by telegraph wire.
The accessibility of these devices to add content had only changed the scope of the content, not the basic form. Regardless of who made it, I’m still reading text and watching movies.
A semi-global library is a remarkable acchievement (Remember that most people in the world still don’t have net access).
But the real acchievement of the internet has been to SIMULATE participation. It has made non-participatory addition of responsive content more rapid; even instantaneous.
E-mail or a chat room, for instance, has infinitely sped up communication across distances. But it is still not a fully sensory, participatory conversation, and we’ve had to find ways to compensate for that.
This trajectory will eventually lead to virtual reality. Increasingly sophisticated pseudo-sensory simulations of the full sensory, participatory reality of which we are a part.
This is a movement towards making the non -participatory form imitate the participatory reality.
We’re trying to make the printed word imitate what we already experience every day.
The natural interaction between us and the world.