Mediators vs motivators

Some of us have jobs or school work which requires the use of our smart phones, PDA's, tablets or Wifi connected laptops. Most of us are torn between what we're paid to do and what we're getting mediated to do by these new technologies. When put into competition, the extrinsic motivators of employment will usually win out over the mediating influences of technologies.

When we're getting mediated by social, communication or other technological media, we're feeling powerful. The tool has amplified or extended our previous abilities. We experience more freedom to maneuver, connect and express ourselves. We become deeply invested in this magical effect on our abilities. We keenly aware of every opportunity to utilize, it, enhance it or show off it's functionality. We'll go out of our way to accommodate the technological requirements. We'll even become addicted to the tool for awhile without realizing how hung up we've become. We've been mediated by the media we're using.

Marshall McLuhan perceived all these subliminal effects that every technology has had on human minds, emotions and conduct. We saw the effects on incumbent institutions of these new extensions. He presumed that the electronic technologies would have the same spell binding effects as the introduction of the Phoenician alphabet, printing press and automobile. He also foresaw the digital age reversing the usual explosion of tools, uses, users and supporting infrastructures. He anticipated this next array of advances would be experienced as an implosion. Rather than extending our reach, the world could now reach us;  "coming into our living rooms" on TV. Nowadays the world even finds us wherever we are currently located via our Wifi, G3/G4, GPS and cellular signal technologies.

McLuhan did a very good job of questioning what could overpower the established regime of mechanized factory production, transportation, communication and education. It appears he failed to question what could overpower those overpowering influences of new media. In my view, extrinsic motivators have far deeper and more lasting influence than any media. It's not the factory mechanisms that are built to last, it's the managerial and governmental schemes for incentivising, recognizing and rewarding goal attainments that are here to stay. What we now know about the effects of extrinsic rewards on brains, decisions and conduct reveals how motivators can win out when competing with media for influence on individuals, groups and cultures. What we've learned about our inherent irrationality sides with the overpowering influence of motivators.

to be further continued ....

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