I must have looked up McLuhan when I saw that scene in Annie Hall. I’m disappointed I didn’t connect him with that scene when we talked about him in class.
I certainly agree with the critic that it is a gross misuse of the term “the internet” to refer to Twitter, Facebook, and the like. The internet is actually not even “the web”, as many fail to understand. The internet is the base connectivity, combined with certain protocols that enable the web as well as other applications, all of which mostly only technical individuals ever see. The web is the medium through which many people interact (websites), and within the web there exist very different means of communication, such as Facebook and Twitter.
I believe it’s also true that there are still many cultural divides that exist on the web, as the “critic” points out. And this “global village” idea has not come to fruition in the capacity that many would make it out to. If one were to think of their own use of the web, especially in the United States, it’s likely that they predominately visit sites that are owned and operated domestically, and use those sites to interact with people who are predominately regional, if not local.
I don’t entirely agree with the critic’s claims that Silicon Valley removing the struggles of our lives makes our lives not worth living, as the removal of these struggles, even if they are unimportant, can free up more time for thought and perhaps increase mental clarity and assist with our own resolution of more important struggles.
I’m not sure as to the intention of the ambiguity of McLuhan’s statement, or if there actually is significant ambiguity; perhaps there existed ambiguity in the 60’s, but the statement seems rather easily digestible now, without too much concern over ambiguity. I would argue that he is a pessimist regarding technology. The medium is the message implies a reduction of the expressiveness of new media, if you interpret the statement as “is the message”. The ambiguity could come from the media “being” the message vs actually just being part of the message. I think that the media is part of the message, as the message’s meaning can take on different meanings and evoke different feelings depending on the media through which it was expressed, but it is not the entirety of the message.
I unfortunately do not have multiple social media accounts, and so I cannot personally comment. However, believe that Facebook and Twitter are used by individuals mainly with a goal of obtaining the max possible of their social currency. On Facebook, the desire is to achieve as many likes as possible, which means posting something that people individually enjoy or respect. Twitter has this same component with favorites/hearts, but because it’s common to retweet as well, something highly relatable may be more suited for Twitter to garner retweets.
I think Morozov’s relation of the internet to Maslow’s hierarchy is very apt. Even thinking of the progression of one’s own use of the internet, often it starts with very basic things (funny cat videos), and develops into more sophisticated needs, such as intellectual stimulation.