Audiences from different parts of the world were able to experience the atrocious event of the 9/11 attacks in New York as it happened live, from their homes. The media can create an experience of being in two places at once at the same time and allows us to experience the incidents occurring in a place separate from the environment in which we are present. Events, which are mediated, also influence our perceptions of the event by structuring our experience of the time and space in relation with the actual event. The dimensions of time and space in our everyday life have also been altered with the presence of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which act as virtual spaces in which we can communicate to individuals and groups from diverse cultures and across various geographical zones and broadcast the message to all at the same time. Media technologies do construct our experience of space and time, but one can argue that it also destroys the experience. By giving us a sense of space and time, which is not our physical reality, do media destroy our familiarity of our actual environment? Media gives us the awareness of connecting with people from all over the world, whether it is by being part of an audience of a certain event or belonging to community on the Internet site, which has millions of members, but is it the same experience as meeting and conversing with someone face to face?
This essay seeks to understand the how media technologies shape our experience of time and space. It first comprehends the role of the Medium in our lives, by reading McLuhan who created groundbreaking theories of media. Shaun Moores’ “The Doubling of Place”, and Lang and Lang’s observation of MacArthur Day in Chicago is then looked at, which helps in understanding how media constructs and destructs this experience.
Marshall McLuhan was one of the first communication theorists to lay emphasis on the importance of the medium. The phrase “the medium is the message” coined by him, enforces that without media there would be no communication. According to him, media affects the society not by the content delivered by it but by the medium itself. For example: During the 1960 presidential election in the US, the ‘Great Debates’ between Kennedy and Nixon, was televised for the first time. Nixon had just suffered with a knee infection; he appeared for the debate looking worn out, whereas Kennedy looked attractive and had the photogenic appeal, 70 million people watched the debate on television while a smaller amount heard the debate on the radio. Among television viewers, Kennedy was perceived as the winner by a large margin, while the people who heard the debate on radio stated that Nixon was the winner. They both were evenly matched in substance, but the television viewers saw a charismatic Kennedy against a sickly Nixon. More than half of the voters said that the Great Debates had influenced their opinion and 6% reported...