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The Machine is Us/ing Us

The Machine is Us/ing Us

Written by Henry Cohn-Geltner
June 17, 2010

Text is linear.  Text is unilinear.  Text is often said to be unilinear.  Text is unilinear when written on paper.
Digital text is different.
Digital text is more flexible.
Digital text is moveable.
Digital text is above all… hyper.
Digital hypertext is above all…
Hypertext is above all…
Hypertext can link
or here…
virtually anywhere
anywhere virtually

Thus begins, the video called “The Machine is Us/in Us”, created by Dr. Michael Wesch, researcher and assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University.  This video and others he has done, come out of research for the Digital Ethnography project, which looks at the effects of new media on culture and society.  Though this reads like a poem, this progression at the start of the video introduces the audience to the idea that the web will transform the ways in which individuals communicate, write, and gather information.  

As the video progresses, the audience begins to understand how the language of the web has evolved from static script that combines form and content, to script that allows for more dynamic control of form and content that are separate from one another.  

Web 2.0 is linking people …
… people sharing, trading, and collaborating …

Because the language of the web now allows for more control of the presentation and distribution of content, the video concludes with a point that many different aspects of social, artistic, relationships, political, legal, and financial life are affected by our ability to shape content and form in ways that are completely unique.

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