While I do consider myself relatively tech savvy, learning about the basics of HTML introduced a new and unfamiliar learning curve that significantly altered my confidence in my own abilities. I had never been on that side of the site building process and I enjoyed getting to peek behind the curtain, so to speak.
One thing that has struck me about information and media through this class so far is the ease of access that we get to enjoy. For the most part, the information and media that we consume online is created for the users to enjoy quickly and easily, which is often taken for granted. That is certainly not an easy task and working through the process of learning the HTML basics I was able to cultivate a deeper respect for those who put the work in to build and cultivate the web pages that I use every day.
The use WYSIWYG editing compared to the process of coding that we learned about this week was fascinating to me, especially when I began thinking about that idea of user ease. Most programs that I have used in the past have utilized WYSIWYG editing as opposed to any sort of HTML or coding because the average person does not have experience with coding, even in the most basic sense. For me, any type of coding similar to HTML has always reminded me of The Matrix movies and I assumed it was too difficult for me to understand without significant training time. It was a little shocking, and a lot encouraging, to know that I could pick up the most basic coding skills with a 30 minute training session.
The concept of hot and cold media stood out during my studies this week, particularly the effect that each type of media has on the consumer. McLuhan’s example of the written word as hot and cold media caught my attention because it had such a storied history. In “Media Hot and Cold” McLuhan writes “The printed word with its specialist intensity burst the bonds of medieval corporate guilds and monasteries, creating extreme individualist patterns of enterprise and monopoly. But the typical reversal occurred when extremes of monopoly brought back the corporation, with it impersonal empire over many lives.” (41)
It struck me that the same medium, depending on how it is utilized, can either be hot or cold. Up until this point I tended to hold a fairly rigid view of media and its various mediums. I had always believed that each medium interacted with the world in a particular way, regardless of how it was used or who was using it. McLuhan’s work broadened my view of that concept and helped me to gain a deeper understanding of not only how media interacts with my world today, but also how significant it has been for as long as societies have been around.
I look forward to expanding that view further!
McLuhan, Marshall. “Media Hot and Cold.” Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, edited by W. Terrence Gordon, Ginko Press, pp.38-50.