Sunday, October 28, 2012

724E Media Psych/McLuhan Tetrad

The tetrad is an “investigative framework,” (Ohler, 2010), for those trying to understand the impact of technology. To understand the effects of a medium, one must ask what will be gained, what will be lost, what will return and what will happen if the medium is pushed beyond it’s limit? McLuhan believed the answers would reveal the future of all technology. In my professional practice, I regularly use InDesign. As part of the Adobe Creative Suite, InDesign is useful for page layout and document creation. Specifically, graphic designers use InDesign to create flyers, brochures, publications, print ads, and posters. To develop a better understanding of InDesign and its effect on technology, I’ve used the tetrad to unpack the impact of this medium. Using InDesign has benefitted graphic designers. Most often times, a graphic designer will use Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator to create each piece of design. If the design needs to go to print, a layout of the final piece is needed. For example, if a company would like to print business cards using a newly created logo designed in Illustrator, the file would need to be created. In order for the company to print the business cards, a designer must lay out the cards to include not only the logo, but also the information necessary for the business cards. To do this, InDesign plays a crucial role. The logo is transferred into the program, and designed using typography, layout, live print area, and bleeds. This allows the printer to know what colors to print, what type to use, the size of the final card, and where to cut the paper. Using InDesign in tandem with Illustrator and Photoshop has made this process seamless. With a simple “drag and drop” process, files are transferred and updated immediately. InDesign has enhanced page layout, allowing designers to design across time and space as an extension of pre-existing programs. Designers continue to gain time and speed in their work, along with accuracy of the actual design. Integrity of the work is kept throughout the process. As always, as a new technology comes to light, an old technology must say goodbye. InDesign replaced PageMaker in 1999, as the premiere layout option for designers. PageMaker became archaic and was not compatible with the creative suite. While PageMaker has become obsolete, Quark is not far behind. Quark, another page layout program, has several characteristics of InDesign. However, it is not compatible with the Adobe programs. Where Quark is expensive, not user friendly and lacks in customer support, InDesign succeeds. With its success, InDesign could retrieve printing presses. The program has given designers an understanding of layout and print production. Understanding typography and it's impact to design could generate interest in the use of printing presses from past eras.  Looking toward the future of InDesign, it’s possible that the program could work to actually eliminate the very thing it was built for. While it’s primary purpose is for print, InDesign is capable of layout for ebooks or emagazines. It puts technology at the fingertips of anyone willing to try it. As I continue to use InDesign in my professional practice, the tetrad will play a large role to determine the future success of the program and how that will impact my career. McLuhan suggests that the laws of media come in hope but only work as questions. These questions will prove useful as a litmus test for years to come along with the understanding that the tetrad is not an exact science but a benefit for those luck enough to use it.  Reference:Dimitri (2008, September 7). Media : McLuhan/LawsOfMedia. Media: McLuhan/LawsOfMedia. Retrieved from Kristina , K. (Producer), & undefinedundefined (Director). (2007). McLuhan's Wake. [DVD]. Canada.Ohler, J. B. (2010). Digital Community Digital Citizen. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

724E Media Psych/McLuhan

An analysis of Marshal McLuhan reveals that all media, regardless of the message exerts a “compelling influence on man and society,”(The Marshall McLuhan Center on Global Communications, 1969). Technological innovation has wielded an influence so great, that sensory function has been thrown off-balance. The electronic revolution faces the challenge to bring restoration to a pre-tribal society, therefore balancing the senses.

During the reign of a “tribal” era, James Burke explains that, “survival depended on the few square miles they knew, while facts were a direct personal experience,” (Burke). The main source of information was received through the pulpit at a local church or passed down through folk stories, memories or troubadours. During this period of time, all senses remained in harmonious balance.

The introduction of the printing press disturbed the balance of the senses, shifting emphasis to the visual sensory function. McLuhan believed the printing press, “finally sealed the doom of tribal man,” (The Marshall McLuhan Center on Global Communications, 1969). Visual communication forever changed the way information was spread. Focus shifted, giving voice to the individual and promoted the dissemination of the tribe. “The alphabet and print technology fostered and encouraged a fragmenting process, a process of specialism and of detachment, (Marshall McLuhan, 1967).  This “separation of senses” as McLuhan describes it, impacted the community or “village”. Identity of the tribal man was no longer defined, protected, or encouraged by the group.

McLuhan holds the electronic media responsible to bring retribalization back to the village. While print technology created the public, consisting of separate individuals with separate fixed points of view, electric technology created the mass, which abandons fragmentation. “Enter TV. Television and the electric media generally, say McLuhan is reversing the process; they are returning man’s sensory ratios to the pre-print, pre-literate, ‘tribal’ balance. The auditory and tactile senses come back into play and man begins to use all his senses at once again in a unified, ‘seamless web’ of experience, becoming a global village,” (Wolfe, 1968). The global village philosophy is a world of “allatonceness” or a “simultaneous happening” involving men once again with each other, (Wolfe, 1968).  

In his day, McLuhan attributed the television as the catalyst of the electronic revolution. While, the television plays an integral role, the present day catalyst could best be known as social media. Using social media, we are immersed in active interplay, massaging the sensory function back to its proper balance. Similar to newspapers, people “get into them every morning like a hot bath, “ (The Marshall McLuhan Center on Global Communications, 1969). Social media becomes our environment and we become extensions of its skin. Working us over, the tribe is restored with a world of “total involvement, in which everybody is profoundly involved with everybody else,” (Marshall McLuhan, 1967).

As a media psychologist, the constant concern is to find balance between where we have been and where we are going. Similarly, we must realize this very moment will become obsolete in the next. Living in environments that are not only invisible, but also active, presents a challenge to be aware of. This challenge forges the road ahead as unknown and often debatable. We must constantly investigate, struggle and hold findings with palms open. McLuhan explains, “any approach to environmental problems must be sufficiently flexible and adaptable to encompass the entire environmental matrix which is in constant flux,” (The Marshall McLuhan Center on Global Communications, 1969). Media is a forever compelling influence on man and society; the key is to hop on the train, destination unknown.

Burke, J. (Director). The Day the Universe Changed: Matter of Fact: Printing Transforms Knowledge [Motion Picture]

Marshall McLuhan, Q. F. (1967). The Medium is the Massage. New York, NY: Bantam.

The Marshall McLuhan Center on Global Communications. (1969). The Marshall McLuhan Center on Global Communications. Retrieved from

Wolfe, T. (1968). The Pumphouse gang. New York, NY: Noonday Press.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

724E Media Psych/Technology Innovation Game

Using the technology game, I created an Augmented Reality Thermal Camera. In the first circle representing Tech A, I chose a thermal imaging camera. In the second circle representing Tech B, I chose augmented reality. The combination of the two circles resulted in an Augmented Reality Thermal Camera. When adding the third circle to represent the goal of the combination, I decided the camera should be used in brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Unlike online shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers are limited to the amount of information gathered in the store. Using an Augmented Reality Thermal Camera would allow retailers to track consumers while in the store, taking note of their buying habits. Thermal cameras can sense and report traffic within the store using body temperature. For instance, if a consumer chooses specific traffic patterns within the store, it allows the retail owner to know where the hot and cold spots are located. Or rather, where people stop to shop versus just passing through. Coupled with augmented reality, the thermal sensor camera can determine if someone has stopped in front of a rack of clothing or a display of folded sweaters. An augmented reality store clerk would pop up and suggest an item of clothing to match, find a size, or reserve a dressing room. Consumers could also purchase on the spot, compare prices, or watch advertisements.

Retailers and consumers alike would benefit from this creation. Consumers receive an enhanced experience in the store. In real time, consumers could compare prices, purchase and receive live, real time service searching for sizes, dressing rooms, or matching items. “Stores should focus on providing an experience and services that create a sense of extra value in the mind of the shopper” (Davis, 2011). On the other hand, retailers would be able to track consumer buying habits, enabling improved store layout, products and sales.

Retailers are having a difficult time keeping up with online sales, not to mention the negative effect the economy is having on retail stores. While online retail measures sales, advertising, SEO performance and traffic sources, they do not present a positive consumer experience. In contrast, retail stores excel with providing customers with the look, fit, and feel of the product, but they do not effectively measure traffic and store touch points. Combining a way to track shopping and buying habits throughout the store along at point of sale, would benefit retailers with increased future sales.

Marketing this product would be easy to do at retail markets where most clothing boutiques purchase clothing for each season. Store demonstrations would be critical to market the product. Employing a sales team to travel across the US to meet with storeowners to offer in store demonstrations or free trials would be beneficial for owner buy in. Finally, marketing alongside a POS system would be a beneficial relationship. With their relationships in the retail market already built, this relationship would solidify trust in the company.

I believe that the retail experience offers shoppers something that the online world cannot. The online world is still far enough away from offering an experience to the consumer that emulates a sensory experience of the product. “There is a lot of room for improvement in helping consumers go from doing online research to in-store purchases. Only 61 percent of consumers who cross over from one to the other are satisfied with their buying experience, compared to 82 percent for those who end up buying online. Forrester draws the lesson that retailers need to do a better job appealing to online consumers in their physical stores” (Schonfeld, 2010). If retailers can stay in front of the curve with these innovations, then they can track customers to increase sales. Any hindrances would most likely involve cost of product for retailers, development and/or manufacturing.

As a media psychologist, I’m incredibly interested in consumer purchasing habits. Developing an understanding of how and why they purchase and the resulting impact on retail is a fascinating area of study. It would be exciting to develop information to aid retailers with enhancing the shopping experience.


Davis, D. (2011, October 10). Industry Statistics. Retrieved from

Schonfeld, E. (2010, March 8). Tech Crunch. Retrieved from

Sunday, October 7, 2012

724E/Media Psych/Week 2/Digital Citizen

After completing the “consider your electronic extended family” activity, I had mixed emotions. My digital footprint as an individual is fairly small. Making connections with people I feel personally tied to, typically do not happen in a digital community. I may touch base using the virtual world but do not spend time there. My digital footprint in the business world is much larger.  This is where I spend the bulk of my time virtually.  The order of what “felt the most important” to me was: self-family-friends-extended family-work-church-creative community-school. I also fell into the category of mixing all three communities within concentric circles. The next step of the exercise solidified these findings. If I removed any modern communication technology, the only groups were affected were work, creative community, and school. This led me to ask the following question, “Is it possible to be successfully connected real life and in a virtual world as a digital citizen?”

Real life is value driven.  “The direction we take our lives is based on what we deem most important. As a result, life has personal meaning and relevance to us. And with that meaning and relevance comes investment, that is to say, caring about what we do and where we direct our lives”(Taylor, 2011). While technology is moving in that direction, are wired connections as meaningful as we would like to believe? Real life offers a sensory experience that a virtual world (try as it might) cannot. “Yes, technology has made great advances in replicating the experience of real life, for example, improved visual graphics and sound (e.g., video games), the sensation of balance and movement (e.g., Wii), and, emotionally provocative content, though artificially created (e.g., FarmVille) or kept at a distance (e.g., Facebook)“(Taylor, 2011).

I believe strongly in building relationship face-to-face with both family and friends. I have a small group of friends all over the world that I’ve been very close with for more than a decade. These friends don’t require upkeep, but what they do require is face-to-face, quality time.  We converse and build our relationships with personal contact. ”Experiences are created by technology with the aim of approximating and simulating actual experience. The problem with this ‘low-resolution’ life is that, though it shares similarities to real life, it lacks the high resolution and the granularity of real life”(Taylor, 2011). Taking part in relationships requires social responsibility, which allows voice tone, context, and body language to prevail. “One of the most distinct attributes of local communities, is that we can experience the effects of our own actions up close in a relatively unmediated fashion” (Ohler, 2010).

Living life as a digital citizen in a virtual world has proven beneficial to individuals, education, and global community. In real life a person may be quiet or shy, but in the online world they can be confident. Communication we take part in, also improves. The time it takes to deliver a response through email or texting allows for consideration of the message. In education, digital citizenship challenges students with new ideas and new ways of thinking. Learning takes on a different tone and allows students to explore a global world that was once restricted to outdated textbooks. Finally, our involvement in a global community thrives. Merging the online identities over several platforms allows users to “synthesize many viewpoints, which is crucial to being a global citizen” (Ohler, 2010). While our local communities may be isolating, we can “travel to other parts of the globe electronically and begin to gather. . . perspective” (Ohler, 2010).

In my personal life, I’m the antithesis of what I promote in a business setting. I do not have a personal Facebook page or Twitter account, and I very rarely check my voicemail.  My phone is a bit of a burden, but feel it’s a necessity because I have children. Texting is my salvation; it allows brevity and a directness that a phone conversation does not permit.  On the other hand, my business life requires a constant presence and community online in order to build to maintain staying power.  While I realize the benefits to a virtual world, I have successfully (so far) been able to split time between both worlds similar to the way I split time between work and home.  

There are benefits to dabbling in both worlds. The best of both worlds at our can only be beneficial if managed properly. Looking to our future, dual citizenship should be an option. Developing an allegiance to one while exploring another can develop us as individuals.


Jim Taylor, P. (2011, May 31). Technology: Virtual vs. Real Life: You choose. Retrieved from
Ohler, J. B. (2010). Digital Community Digital Citizen. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin.
Shirky, C. (2010). How Cognitive Surplus will Change the World. TedTalks. TedTalks.