Updates : technologies of media change

Comer, Joshua
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Other Contributors
Deery, June
Zappen, James Philip
Haskins, Ekaterina V., 1969-
Century, Michael
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Communication and rhetoric
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
This electronic version is a licensed copy owned by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. Copyright of original work retained by author.
Full Citation
Whether as status notifications in news feeds or interactive prompts in online video services, updates punctuate the background routines of media by bringing a variety of changes to the attention of users. In this dissertation I argue that updates rationalize media change by making previously obscure actions of users and movements of technologies fit the imperatives of media change. Updates make explicit aspects of users’ norm-guided practices and technologies’ rule-governed behaviors that normally operate in the background and expose them to modification. My analyses find that updates prompt users to commit to making changes to the features they make explicit and in turn impart to users their new responsibilities for the course of media change that follows from their actions. I base my research in a close examination of the multiple updates found on Facebook, including suggested changes within status messages, the renowned status update itself, and the feeds to which status updates contribute. My analysis moves from the distinctive design of each update toward identifying commonalities across the different examples. I connect primary studies of the world’s largest social network and my claims resulting from my analyses to their correlates in mobile applications and streaming video services. My investigations show updates refashioning certain meanings and uses of media once taken for granted through question and answer sessions regarding the course of media change. Updates base users’ new obligations on the input they receive during their temporary intervention, perpetuating a modified routine. More than fleeting objects responding to erroneous circumstances, updates are touchstones that formulate common concerns about how media should progress.
December 2015
School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Dept. of Communication and Media
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
Rensselaer Theses and Dissertations Online Collection
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