Myspace, Facebook and Mediology
Kassie Barroquillo

"Media exist in an ecosystem of uses and social functions: new media do not replace earlier media in any simple way (like exchange or substitution), but new media change the whole social and economic system of media and change the relations among media used in society" (Irvine online).

Many say “Facebook is revolutionary” or “Facebook has changed the world.” In reality, Facebook is an evolution of other social media, which has taken over their role of the norm. For the purpose of time, I have chosen to primarily concentrate on the relationship between Myspace and Facebook, but it is important to note, relationships between Friendster, Napster, Limewire, LinkedIn and Pandora have also been key to this evolution.

It is a common misconception that: “technology=anti-culture and culture=anti-technology.” In all reality, Debray claims technology is culture, they are one in the same. When we look at the use of social media, one can see clearly how this claim is made.

Myspace was created in 2003, at the time the creators were actually taking a cue from the social network, Friendster. It took only a month to activate more than one million users. The peak of Myspace came in December 2008, with 75.9 million users (Stenovek online). Facebook was created in February of 2004, with the only audience being Harvard students. It was quickly released to a few other universities, but it was not a technology used by the masses. In September of 2005, Facebook opened its site to high schoolers. In September of 2006, Facebook finally let anyone over 13 years old join the social media site. Facebook joined public markets in February of 2012 (The Sunday Indian).

What makes the two sites unique, first and foremost, is Facebook fits much more neatly into the “black box” category. On Myspace, one could create their own layout, use their own pictures for backgrounds, include the advertising they wanted, etc. On Facebook, there is no way to include these types of customization. Ever since I joined Facebook, every October, there is a drive to convince Facebook to turn the website pink, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, even this small change never happens. The most customization Facebook has offered to users is a profile picture and the new cover photo.

Myspace also became a very popular place for musicians to have their music discovered. After inspecting my old Myspace page, I found this is almost entirely the purpose of Myspace at this point. Because users have strayed away from Myspace, Pandora has now become one of the main sources of music consumption. In the beginning, Napster and Limewire were initially used to receive music, but the unseen (new legislation) led to this practice stopping. This opened up the niche for Myspace to enter the music realm in the first place.

Debray says a new technology does not necessarily become obsolete because of a new technology; the value of the old technology definitely diminishes, and is redistributed to the new technologies. This is the case with Myspace and Facebook. Myspace still exists, but fills an entirely different space than it did at its peak in 2008.

Facebook too has changed over time. At one point, groups were one of the most popular things to be a part of in Facebook. I spent hours poring over which groups I wanted to join on Facebook. They were one of the main ways users could have any kind of extended conversation with one another. As previously stated, Debray says technology is culture. In this sense, we can see how the group concept has changed on Facebook and how culture in general has changed. Now groups are not widely used on Facebook. Groups which already had a strong and active population now complain about Facebook taking away the ease of use in these groups. As we live in a world where 140 characters is the norm, Facebook is also starting to confine its users to a short-hand kind of communication. This is shaping the way people write, speak, and communicate with one another in general. This is our culture now. We see the world in snippets. Our social media, which is our culture, is encouraging this be used in the way we communicate with one another in a face-to-face context.

In general, Debray sees that technology is not an effect on society, it is society. It is clear that social media is a part of society, as if I were to open up my phone (technology), I would probably not be making a phone call, but focusing on Facebook, inspecting Instagram, trekking through Tweets and peeking at Pair. Debray’s claim that one technology does not make another obsolescent, it merely changes the value, can also be clearly seen within the sphere of the Myspace to Facebook evolution.


"And Facebook Begins - The Sunday Indian Exclusive Images." And Facebook Begins - The Sunday Indian Exclusive Images. The Sunday Indian, Feb. 2012. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. <>.

Debray, Regis. "Debray, What Is Mediology?" Debray, What Is Mediology? N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. <>.

Irvine, Martin. "Introduction to Mediology?" Introduction to Mediology? N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. <>.

Stenovec, Timothy. "Myspace History: A Timeline Of The Social Network's Biggest Moments." The Huffington Post., 29 June 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. <>.

The Wonders of Mediology

After reviewing this week’s readings on Mediology and Network Theory, I wanted to focus on the significance of mediology and discuss how different mediums within this concept are evolving as a result of cultural demands. Mediology focuses upon the relationship and interaction between one’s culture and technologies. The transmission process within mediology serves as an essential element; without transmission our culture’s knowledge, traditions and rituals would not continue throughout the generations. Debray wrote in Transmitting Culture, “In sum, the art of transmission, or making culture, consists of adding a strategy to a logistics, a praxis to a techne, or establishing an institutional home and engineering a lexicon of signs and symbols” (Debray 13). From this excerpt I want to focus on how establishing an institutional home and assigning this institution with signs assists in preserving one’s culture.

Debray provides the example that libraries can be viewed as mediums of transmission. Libraries contain novels and records that are full of information concerning different cultures. Even though the library is viewed as the medium, the people that visit the library and utilize its resources are the driving forces within mediology. Establishing an institution such as our society has done with a library provides an abundance of resources that our culture will continue to support. Below are a few images of libraries throughout throughout history. Our libraries continue to evolve due to cultural demands, the more we improve these institutions assists in saving cultural traditions . As you can see the last image I posted is of a computer since they provide our society with quick and easy access to information.

Ancient Library Alexandria.jpg
Ancient Library of Alexandria
Franklin's Public Library.jpg
Franklin's Public Library (1st Public Library in America)

Georgetown Library.jpg
Georgetown's Library
Virtual Library.jpg
Virtual Library

Debray’s library example reminded me of another medium in our culture which is the Kindle. In Media Manifestos, Debray categorizes mediums into four senses, the third one led me view the kindle as a medium. Debray’s third meaning of the term states, “As a supporting material system or surface for receving an inscription or archiving (clay, papyrus, parchment, paper, magnetic tape, screen)”(Debray). Each year creators of the Kindle introduce a new and improved version of the device. A kindle’s main purpose is to provide individuals with information. Whereas books used to be the primary source we would rely on for this tool, our culture has demanded newer technologies. It is my understanding that within mediology we focus on mediums such as the Kindle and examine how technologies are guiding our cultural transmissions. Below are few images of how the book has transformed into the kindle.

Codex Book.jpg
Codex Book
Typical Books.jpg

Old Kindle.jpg
Original Kindle
New Kindle.jpg
Recent Version of the Kindle

When considering the different technological devices that have been created over the years, it is important to realize that without the transmission of knowledge from our culture, the devices would not exist. In Transmitting Culture, Debray wrote “I will venture further to say that, even well before the culture industries came about, never has there been culture without machinery or the invention of a machine without a culture farther back in time”(Debray 49). This quote applies to the two mediums I mentioned earlier, without previous cultures we would have never been able to create tablets such as the Kindle.

Fashion applies to mediology as well in the sense that our society typically resorts to previous styles. Through transmission, we observe how our previous culture dressed and bring old styles back in. Whenever I go shopping with my mother she is constantly telling me how the apparel targeted at my age group looks similar to the style she wore when she was around my age. An example of this would be how popular flare jeans were in the late 90s which is a style designers reiterated from the 70s. Another style that has returned this year is the peplum style for women’s apparel. Below is an example of this style that has reemerged from the 1940s.

Peplum Style.jpg
Peplum Style

Debray, Regis. "Media Manifestos." . N.p.. Web. 15 Oct 2012. <>.
Debray, Regis. “Transmitting Culture”, trans. Eric Rauth. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.
Image Citations
Amazon Kindle. N.d. WikipediaWeb. 16 Oct 2012. <>.
Avoid Over-Indulging in these 10 Fashion Trends of 2012. N.d. TrendNStylezWeb. 15 Oct 2012. <>.
Franklin Public Library. N.d. Town of Franklin Massachusetts Web. 16 Oct 2012. <;.
Kyle, Heidi. Codex and Scroll Book. N.d. Popular Kinetics PressWeb. 15 Oct 2012. <>.
Library of Alexandria. N.d. WikipediaWeb. 15 Oct 2012. <>.
Virtual Library. N.d. MacGillivrayWeb. 15 Oct 2012. <>.
Miller, Paul. New Kindles are Amazon's Fastest Selling Yet, Start Shipping Today. N.d. EngadgetWeb. 15 Oct 2012. <>.
Online Libraries - 25 Places to Read Free Books Online. 2008. EduChoices.orgWeb. 15 Oct 2012. <>.

Emily Fuerst

The Diffusion and Translation of Innovation in IT Systems

Innovation is the development of ideas, solutions, or concepts that are perceived to be new or novel by a person or group. Traditionally, the dominant paradigm in IT systems implementation has followed the path of innovation diffusion (Rogers, 1995), which has four basic, self-contained components:

1. Characteristics of the system innovation
2. Channels of communication for innovation
3. Time to innovate
4. The target socio-cultural environment

However, An alternative view of innovation is that proposed in ANT (Actor-Network Theory) and the core of this approach is translation (Law 1992) that can be defined as: “... the means by which one entity gives a role to others.” (Singleton and Michael 1993 :229).

Very rarely do you ever hear of an innovation that didn’t make it. That’s because nobody cares. The point is that in order for an innovation to succeed a consortium of actors with sufficient power need to be created to carry it through. Innovation translation considers all the approaches through which an actor identifies other actors and arranges them in relation to each other. Latour eccentrically calls this “chains of translations”. It has been used successfully in modelling global problems into local scale, such as the now defunct Aramis transportation system for the city of Paris.

Let’s deconstruct how both these scenarios play out in the adoption of cloud computing, a present-day IT System innovation. Consider adoption of cloud computing in an environment where end users have no previous exposure. An innovation diffusion approach would start with a description of cloud computing features and benefits including cost, scalability, elasticity, security, application portability, etc., and examine how these might help or hinder system acceptance. Next, it would look at communication channels to ascertain how information has "diffused" to the media, trade press, developers, tech blogs, competing and partner firms, VARs (Value Added Resellers), dealers, focusing on how effective the channel has been in delivering information about the innovation. Next, it would consider advertising targets, core audiences, key partnerships, and main competitors.

Putting ANT (Actor-Network Theory) in play through the use of Messier Latour’s innovation translation initially requires defining the unions and networks built up by the system engineers, developers, programmers, potential users, telecom carriers, government policy makers and other actors involved in the implementation. It’s these negotiations that allow the network to be configured by the enrolment of both human and non-human allies, and by proxy invite the inclusion of cloud computing “benefits” only as network effects resulting from association. It’s no specific cloud feature that’s important, but rather the network associations that are created that enable applications like Google Docs, Drop Box, and iTunes, which in turn, enable its value as magic “cloud” technology.

Law, J. (1992). ‘Notes on the Theory of the Actor-Network: Ordering, Strategy and Heterogeneity’. Systems Practice 5(4): 379-393.

Tatnall, Arthur, and Anthony Gilding. Actor-Network Theory and Information Systems Research. Melbourne, Australia: Victoria University of Technology, 1991. 955-65. Print.

Singleton, V. and Michael, M. (1993). ‘Actor-Networks and Ambivalence: General Practitioners in the UK Cervical Screening Programme’. Social Studies of Science 23: 227- 264.

Eric Cruet
CCTP 797