discussion questions for Fang ch 5


1)      pp. 138-140 Why does Fang use the metaphor of the toolshed? How does he extend the metaphor?

2)      pp. 140-142, 148. Critique Fang’s claim that IT has decreased interpersonal contact in terms of media determinism.

3)      pp. 144 How did mail order catalogs and zip codes combine the “software” approach of IT with the “hardware” characteristic of postal mail? See 135-136 for Fang’s hardware/software analogy.

4)      pp. 146-147 How have technological innovations in phone use been accompanied by innovations in its social dimensions? 

5)      pp. 149-151 Why was there resistance to recorded music? How did Roosevelt change radio? How did radio change Roosevelt? How did radio change itself?

6)      pp. 154-158 Graph a tree structure on the blackboard showing the history of technological innovations that contributed to television.

7)      pp. 159-162 Describe the economic influences on tv programming.

8)      pp. 163-169  How did politics shape news broadcasting, and vice-versa?

9)      pp. 170-174 Use the example of the origins of cable television to critique the myth that only professional inventors can contribute to innovation. How did cable change from this origin to its present form?

10)  pp. 174-175 describe the spatial and temporal characteristics of videotape as a medium. 176-182 How did these characteristics affect the popularization of video?

11)  pp. 182-186 Describe the history of “fidelity” in sound recording. Is an improvement in fidelity the only reason for changes in the recording industry?