Confessions of a Conditioned New Media User

Posted by Jeff Smack, Art Director

Madison+Main, we’re the New Media folks. We not only drink the Kool-Aid we are stakeholders. We believe in where it’s taking our world and our role in that process. With this stated, I have noticed some unconscious training in myself that I would like to point out. I’m calling it New Media Conditioning and I’m siting some examples in hopes that some of you will have something to add.

1. I’m at the magazine stand in a big book store and I’m flipping through the pages of a thick little magazine called Wax Poetics. I come across an article I enjoy and my brain immediately begins scanning for an RSS button so I can book mark the author’s “stream.”

2. A friend tells me of an article in Wired before I get my copy. When I get home I see it on the floor with the mail as soon as I open the door. I pick it up thinking about the article he mentioned and impulsively scan for a search feature in the Table of Contents.

3. I’m on a non-Facebook website enjoying an article or photograph and I impulsively scan for the “like this” button.

4. My iPhone is set to vibrate when I get mail and also when I get a call. If I get email while I’m at my computer my phone buzzes to tell me and I log in on my desktop to check it. Now sometimes when the phone rings I start to reach for the mouse to answer the phone.

These are all things that I recognize as FAIL operations as soon as I do them but the impulse is hard programmed through well caffeinated and rigorous “practice.”

Here’s a joke that illustrates the same type of observation from the opposite angle. When my brother’s cell phone rings he jokingly and loudly shouts to the room, “I’ll get it!” An ironic throwback to the days of having one telephone line in the home. All of this illustrates the rapidly progressive and almost seamless integration of technology in our moment to moment existence.