Discussion 2: Technology and Cultural Texts

Learning Goal: I’m working on a nursing question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Discussion 2: Technology and Cultural Texts

This week’s reading focused on technological advancements that changed the way people interacted with media, which often resulted in changes to the content that is delivered, and sometimes even changed the messages that were conveyed through that content.

Remember that a medium is something that delivers content (TV broadcast/radio broadcast/internet/streaming services) and technology determines how its delivered (through a Television set, an xbox, a laptop, etc). The content that’s delivered is sometimes called a media object (or “cultural object”), like a TV Show, a song, or the information on a website. The story that the content tells is called a media text (or “cultural text”) — it is an idea. For example, “Men should pay on the first date” is a common media text — an idea that we learn from the stories told on TV Shows (the object) that we see on Netflix (a medium) and watch on our laptops (a technology).

We’ll talk more about media texts in the next few weeks. For now, we’re mostly focused on changes in media and their content.


Identify a technological advancement in media, and describe how it changed objects and texts (content and messages), using at least one example. Be sure to answer the following questions in your response, and cite the textbook:

  1. What are the social forces that shaped people’s use of the new technology and/or its development (social constructivism)?
  2. What facets of social life were changed by the advancement and the objects/texts it created change (technological determinism)?

You may use a technological advancement that is mentioned in the textbook, or come up with one of your own, but the examples you use should be your own. For example, you may talk about how advancements in technology caused televisions to become popular in American homes, but you should not use the example of how the life of the mid-century housewife caused certain types of content to be developed, such as soap operas.

Note: Do not let this be stressful if you aren’t tech savvy — I’m not asking you to describe the technical aspects of the advancement itself. You just need to identify what the major technological shift was — like the invention of the internet, or the capacity to stream music, or even the invention of a digital billboard.

If you’re stumped, have a conversation with someone (maybe someone older than you?) about some kind of media they interacted with way back when. Ask about their routines and preferences when they were listening/watching/reading — How did technology change those patterns? For example, did they used to sit and read their paper and have coffee in the morning? Did they get together with friends to watch their favorite TV shows?

Croteau, David and William Hoynes. 2021. Media/society: technology, industries,
content, and users. 7th Ed. Sage. Thousand Oaks, California.

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