Media Criticism Questions

I use the following set of questions sporadically through our lessons as a way of thinking critically about technology and our world.

Multimedia

You now have instant access to video, audio and photography. What does that mean in terms of telling your story?

What does it mean to be a citizen journalist?

How do people change when they’re on video?

What do you think of the culture of surveillance?

What are more powerful: words or images?

What is the danger in trying to “capture” life?

Why is it important to record and express life on multimedia?

Are there people, places or ideas that should not be “captured” on camera?

How do images shape your view of concepts? Are pictures more accurate than words? What are the dangers in photo-editing software and our ability to believe what we see?

Is a “made-up” picture less real than what you actually saw (especially if your mind is able to misrepresent it as well)?

Does the use of digital photography make people less careful about the pictures they choose to take

How is technology changing our memories?

Does the constant barrage of media create a culture of entertainment?

Does the free availability of media create better content or worse content?

Communications

How is technology changing the way we communicate?

Are we more connected or more lonely?

What does it mean to be physically present while also connected digitally? How does that change our perception of reality?

What is the danger in filtering by “relevance?”

How does auto-fill change the way we think?

What are the dangers in allowing a computer or an algorithm organize our thoughts?

Are we addicted to our devices?

What are some of the benefits of digital communication?

Identity

Are you more authentic online or off-line?

Do you find yourself presenting a better version of yourself online?

In what ways do you create a digital identity for yourself? What are some of the dangers in being transparent? What are some of the dangers in being anonymous?

Are we becoming more image-conscious?

Are social media platforms making us narcissistic?

Are we losing what it means to be human? Or is this simply an evolution in what it means to be human?

Social Networks

What is the danger is adding numbers / metrics to online communication?

How do the structures of social media sites shape the way I view the world?

Are we becoming desensitized to advertising?

Who owns your data?

Is privacy dead?

Have we turned social interactions into a commodity?

How does the constant obsession with “new” cause us to mistake novelty for importance?

What are the costs of editing a person’s words and chopping it up?

Note: These thoughts are heavily influenced by reading Neil Postman. Although his works are now “dated” many of his ideas are still relevant. If you read any techie book, please check out Technopoly and Amusing Ourselves to Death. 

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John Spencer

My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.

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