What is media ecology and why did Julie earn a degree in it? Find out the forgotten questions posed by media critics Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman and how Heidi inadvertently stumbled upon the answers while designing video games.
The first episode tells the story of how the field of media ecology was born, when the popularity of television in the 1960s sent Marshall McLuhan searching to understand how human communication shapes perception and world views. We show how he realized that all forms of human communication are types of media, (including language, speech, film, TV, games, art and journalism), and look at how Neil Postman built on this recognition to create a field of study that incorporates anthropology, social science, neurobiology, and modern public relations.
Using colorful examples, we show how they came to recognize that each medium is inherently biased and amplifies certain ideas or characteristics while downplaying others. We conclude with how the concept of “truth” differs so greatly in oral versus visual societies, and how, in the current 21st century media environment (one that is awash in oversimplified sound-bites, social media-battles, and omnipresent consumer imagery) media literacy has become nothing less than a survival skill, both for our democracy and individual mental health.