Information 2012, 3(3), 442-471; doi:10.3390/info3030442
Article

Counting Electric Sheep: Understanding Information in the Context of Media Ecology

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Received: 29 August 2012; in revised form: 5 September 2012 / Accepted: 7 September 2012 / Published: 18 September 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information: Its Different Modes and Its Relation to Meaning)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: In the field of media ecology, defined as the study of media as environments, media and medium, and ecology and environment are key terms, while information, although commonly employed, is generally used without reference to a specific definition. This article examines the mostly implicit assumptions about and understandings of the term information in the context of the field of media ecology. Information can be seen as a synonym or subset of content or message, can be divided into different orders or levels of content/communication and relationship/medium, and on both levels is dependent on and altered by changes in technology, code, and form. Although sometimes discussed as if it were a substance, information is best understood as a function of communication, which in turn is a function of mediation. As a function of mediated communication, information is closely associated with news and control. Information is also considered the defining characteristic of our contemporary period, but is best understood as a product of electricity, electric technology, and the electronic media. As we have moved from orality to literacy to electricity, so too has the emphasis shifted from wisdom to knowledge to information. Despite popular celebration, this evolution is not an unmitigated good, and what is needed is a balanced media environment.
Keywords: media; medium; information; form; code; relationship; electricity; technology; media ecology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Strate, L. Counting Electric Sheep: Understanding Information in the Context of Media Ecology. Information 2012, 3, 442-471.

AMA Style

Strate L. Counting Electric Sheep: Understanding Information in the Context of Media Ecology. Information. 2012; 3(3):442-471.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Strate, Lance. 2012. "Counting Electric Sheep: Understanding Information in the Context of Media Ecology." Information 3, no. 3: 442-471.

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