Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Time biased or space biased?
Clay and stone tablets, manuscripts, hand-written parchments, carvings on temples, and oral messages, are, according to Harold Innis, time-biased media that last for many generations, but a limited in their reach. Space-biased media, like radio and television convey information to many people over long distances, but have short exposure times. While time-biased media favour stability, community, tradition and religion, space-biased media facilitate rapid change, materialism, secularism and empire. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Innis's_communications_theories).
If that is true, then how do we treat the Internet as a medium? Is Harold Innis's concept of space and time biased media redundant? On one hand, the Internet was able to spread messages faster and reached more people, acting as a catalyst in the 'Arab Spring', destabilizing the existing regimes. There could be another destabilizing set of messages speedily spread by the same Internet; at the same time, the messages / content that were uploaded during the uprising could be available even now.
So is Internet Space Biased or Time Biased medium? Can the Internet set an agenda? Can it manufacture consent?