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Week 2 question 2

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Honors 200 Think Lab question 2

on 10 February 2014

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Transcript of Week 2 question 2

Week 2 question 2
McMillan and the University of Chicago both acknowledge a spectrum of interactivity. Using the “hot and cool” description from the University of Chicago, analyze the “temperature” of media that you encounter daily. Can media be hot and cold? Can media be lukewarm? Is new media generally cooler than media from the past?
New Media is warm
New Media is cool
New Media is definitely lukewarm
First, I would like to say that Marshall McLuhan's use of "hot" and "cold" media greatly bothered me. McLuhan defines "cool" media as media that encourages interaction and "hot" media as media that does not encourage interaction with the audience. These definitions seem so, absolutely backwards to me. Hot should always encourage action; think of touching a hot stove or running across hot pavement. These actions stimulate activity. Being cool discourages activity. On a cool day, I would much rather be warm in bed than doing activities outside. Nonetheless, I will proceed with the definitions given by McLuhan.

The media that I encounter on a daily basis is almost exclusively "cool" media. Social media sites, primarily Twitter, dominate my online time. Without user interaction, there would be no point to Twitter. The entire point of social media is that I am allowed to stay updated on others lives. Through these social media sites, I am allowed to communicate and interact with others. Without this critical interaction feature, social media sites would simply be online diaries. My phone is another example of "cool" media. Without my input, my phone would simply be a useless piece of metal. It is my decisions and interactions with my phone that give it meaning and importance.

I believe that New Media is definitely "cooler" than in the past. Even traditionally "hot" sources such as news agencies have become "cooler". For example, CNN has recently encouraged user interaction by promoting and posting "iReports" to their website. Citizens are now able to become the reporters of news instead of simply the consumers of news. However, there is still the one-to-many communication aspect present. Many stories presented by CNN have no user input. This is evident from the outcry over the fact that celebrity gossip can sometimes dominate headlines over other pressing word issues. So, I believe that CNN would be an example of "lukewarm" media.
I was very interested in this ranking scale of new media as "hot or cool." Regarding new media that I encounter in my everyday life, I would rank most of it closer to the cool end of the spectrum. For example, social media, in particular, offers many opportunities for its users to "fill in the blanks" as described by the University of Chicago's article, giving individuals the chance to voice their opinions online. As a matter of fact, it is hard to think of any new media that can be described as hot. Essentially, we are in an age where almost all forms of technology and media offer the ability to interact with them. Several decades ago, I would have stated the opposite--earliest forms of media and technology did not allow for human alterations--what you saw was what you got.
The University of Chicago definition of interactivity references Marshall Mcluhan's definitions of "hot" and "cool" technology. "Hot" technology is less interactive, whereas "cool" technology is more interactive.

The majority of media with which we interact today is "cool". In fact, even the "hot" media which we use is becoming more and more "cool" (interactive) thanks to trends in social media. Some examples:

Cell phones and all they are capable of are extremely "cool". Whether it's talking, texting, browsing facebook, etc nearly every media the cell phone touches is purely interactive. The same goes for most modern uses of the computer (the above mentioned plus gaming, video chat, etc).

As for "Hot" media such as radio, television, and film (all of which can be streamed online), these forms grow "cooler" every day. Especially television, where many programs now ask viewers to "tweet" their thoughts, reactions, or votes pertaining to the show.

In sum, even "hot" media is now more "lukewarm" and in general, new media is "cooler" than ever before, and continues to trend in that direction. As mentioned in a few of the readings, we are increasingly desiring to be a "creator" or interactor, and not just simply a viewer or consumer.
I think that there are some forms of media that both allow for cool and hot interaction while on the same media. For example, lets take Yahoo's articles. I would say that the article itself that shows up on Yahoo is hot because you cannot interact directly with the actual content that is in the article. The part that is cool, however, is the comment section, which allows the users to interact with each other and comment on the article. On the contrary, a document or article that could be cool would be something like Wikipedia, where people can actually change and correct the content of the specific articles.
The "temperature" of the media that I encounter every day is almost exclusively cool/cold. When newspapers were new, they would have been considered a fairly warm medium; the only way to "interact" would have been a letter to the editor or something of that sort. These days, newspapers are all online, and articles can be easily commented on and shared on Facebook or Twitter, so it has become a much cooler, more interactive medium throughout its lifetime. I think that new media is definitely cooler in general than older media simply because the internet makes it so fast and easy to connect with anyone else who is experiencing the same medium. I think that a medium can absolutely be lukewarm--every media falls along a spectrum, and I don't think that any medium is entirely cool or entirely hot. That being said, I don't think a medium can be both warm and cold; it just falls somewhere on the spectrum.
New Media is a mixture
I never thought of technology as being hot or cold, but after reading McMillan and the University of Chicago I can understand why media might be termed hot or cold. Therefore, I agree that media can be hot or cold. I do not believe that any technology could be hot and cold, but lukewarm is possible. Most media today would be cold, so new media could be classified as cooler than past media. Cool media is media that encourages interactions and, since older media (radio, newspaper, phonograph, etc.) does not encourage interactions, it would be considered to be hot. Media can also be lukewarm. Media such as online newspapers or television could be seen as both encouraging and limiting interactions. In television, typically the host/people on TV cannot interact with the audience, but in many shows (American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Ellen, etc.) the audience is allowed to interact, making it lukewarm. Online newspapers are the same way, where a writer writes an article and posts it online, knowing that people will comment on it. These comments allow online newspapers to become lukewarm rather than hot. Media cannot be both hot and cold because they are two different terms. One type of technology cannot have interactions and not have interactions, so technology cannot be both hot and cold.
I think that the description of "hot" media versus "cool" media is quite apt, particularly as use of thermal energy as an analogy for the flow of information. According to the University of Chicago's entry on "interactive", "cool media" describes media which encourages the interaction of users, whereas "hot media" leaves little to be filled in. If we apply the idea of thermal energy being an analogy for information, "hot media" begins at a higher thermal energy state, having been endowed in its creation- and thus the information is likely to flow outwards to users. "Cool media," however, begins at a lower metaphorical energy state, and so the information/ energy flows in from its surroundings/users.

My personal media use involves primarily "cool media"- including copious amounts of time spent on Reddit, a site made up of entirely user-driven content, from the links posted to the discussions attached thereto. I also engage in multiplayer gaming, which combines hot- and cool- media styles, as the game operates on rules determined entirely by the game developers, but the outcome and flow of the game is derived from user actions and inputs.

I do find that new media tends to be far more "cool" on average, simply due to the feasibility of pseudo-instant communication. Old media has often been very hot- prior to the internet, affecting television broadcast required either crime or a career in politics, affecting the newspaper would involve writing snail-mail to the editor to appear in a column to which few readers paid attention, and affecting the radio required calling the station and waiting in hugely clogged phone lines to *maybe* request a single song. The dawn of new communication technologies has improved each of these experiences slightly, pushing them ever-so-slightly in the "cool" direction, but the real change is to be seen online, where comments and content can be made available in almost real time.
Most media encountered daily is usually cool. Youtube, Twitter, cell phones, iPods, computers and video games are usually the cool media I encounter daily. All are very cool, with the exception of video games. Video games could be lukewarm, because the ability of the audience to participate varies from game to game, from interface to interface. Online MMORPG games are very cool, as well as RPGs because the person playing has a lot of choices regarding interaction. This can include character customization, interactions with other players, and being able to make decisions that drastically alter the course the game takes. The Elder Scroll games are a good example of this. Of course, video games may be more accurately described as both hot and cold, as the audience did not create the game. Game developers created the game, but there is a large amount of audience interaction allowed within the parameters of the game. However, new media is generally cooler than media from the past simply because it allows a much greater degree of audience interaction.
In general, it is hard to find media online that can be considered "hot". This is because of the advent of the forum and comment boards. It is hard to find any video, blog, or post in general that you cannot leave a comment on or post a reply, therefore making most online media "cool" because of the encouragement of audience participation, if not completion.

However, this question asks about the media we encounter in general. To that end, most media I encounter daily is "cool" because most media I encounter is online.

For "lukewarm" media, I find it impossible. How can media be only partially interactive that prevents it from fulfilling the definition of "hot" versus "cool"? An argument for "lukewarm" could be for a comment board on a video. The video itself may not require audience participation, you are now presenting the comment board alongside the video. By meshing them together, you have not turned the temperature down to "lukewarm", it has completely chilled over. This is because the audience participation is there and active. It may not change or affect the video in any way but if someone were to look at the comments, their impressions of the video may change altogether.

This also ties in to why, generally, media nowadays is cooler than before. Simply by adding the channels for audience not to just leave comments, but by creating the boards or threads that allow the audience to leave comments, but also reply to each other and discuss those comments and the meanings and validity of the subjects at hand.
The University of Chicago defines cool media as media that "encourage the interaction of their users," and hot media as "media that do not leave so much to be filled in or completed by the audience." Using these definitions, I encounter much more "cool" media daily. Any and all social networking sites, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is cool media because it encourages participation. There is some media that I encounter that is more hot as well, such as the television. When I watch TV, I simply watch the program or movie, but do not necessarily interact with it. I do think that media can be lukewarm, because some media that were previously hot are becoming more cool, such as online newspapers where people can comment on stories and share ideas. I also think that new media is generally cooler than media from the past, because more and more people are praising the idea of interacting with each other and with machines via the internet. The large movement in social med ia is the main proof of this, but there are also video games that change with user input, and even customized (and targeted) adds online when surfing the internet. I think that in the near future hot media will become even more cool and more participation will be encouraged
"Hot" media are low in audience participation and "cool" media are high in participation or completion by the audience. The media that I encounter daily would probably be mostly considered "cool," mostly because of the computer and television. On the computer, you can go onto various websites and blogs and leave comments, which can lead to a conversation between different people. It is seen as acceptable to post your opinion and say how you feel, while in the past, before computers, people could not just leave a comment on whatever they were reading or hearing. Additionally, cell phones are very "cool," through the use of texting and apps like Instagram and Facebook. These are highly interactive and the only way a cell phone can be put in use is if the person calls on it, or texts, or simply surfs the Internet. Media can be lukewarm, such as in the case of television. While watching television, a person cannot speak directly to the people or tell them how they feel, but the livelihood of a television show depends on how many people tune in, which is the participation of the audience. Additionally, viewers can call the broadcasting company or leave comments on the show's website to express their opinion. New media is generally cooler than media from the past because technologies like the cell phone, computer, and television allow users to decide what they want to watch or do or say. Users can collaborate and decide the direction they want these devices to take.
I largely encounter cool media on a daily basis. Homework and social media all require user interaction or completion. Different aspects of media can be hot or cold, but the media itself can only be categorized into one of the categories. I think media like Pandora can be considered lukewarm because it creates a user preference profile, but can be used without your participation in creating a profile. New media is generally cooler than old media. I think it is the aim of the Internet to create a personalized online experience for each and every user.
This idea that media can be hot and cold, I believe is true, and I also see it as a spectrum that can be "lukewarm." In general, new media has the ability to be cooler than media from the past, but not all new media is. The telephone, texting and instant messaging I believe are the "coldest" forms of media, and because the telephone dates back to the 19th century, cold media has been around for awhile. However, there are also a lot of new forms of media, such as Netflix and iPods, that require no more interactivity than reading a book, showing that hot media is still around. In addition, there are many forms of media that allow for as much interaction as the user wishes, making it lukewarm, on this scale. Where as a telephone call would go nowhere if one person just stopped responding, blogs, Facebook, Instagram and other social media, could potentially range from hot to cold, depending on what they are used for.
I think that media can definitely be hot and cold. When thinking about the kind of media I encounter daily, I thought of sites like Facebook or my cellphone. It is interactive to a point, in my opinion, and then there are times where I am simply watching the screen or talking. It, in a sense, is interactive and non-interactive which is why I believe it could be hot and cold. I would say that new media is generally cooler than media from the past, but I also think a lot of media is the "hot and cold" I just described. They can be interactive and most forms of media do have a piece that is somewhat interactive, but at the same time they have a piece that isn't. I don't think you can say new media is hot or cold, since it really is parts of both.

If I had to choose, I would say I encounter mostly cool media. I feel that even if I am watching a movie or something that is typically a result of hot media, I have to input a password or control some aspect of it. I feel the invention of tablets and iPhones are sources of completely cool media, and thinking about how much I use those devices shaped my answer to this question.
I believe that media can be both hot and cold. For example, when we are watching a video on YouTube, we do not necessarily interact with it. However, if we share the video on Facebook or comment on the video, then we are interacting. Therefore, it will be considered a cold medium. Everything is relative to one's definition of interactivity. If a person considers interactivity as something that only occurs through synchronous means, then YouTube would be considered "hot" media. However, if someone views a place where someone gets to express themselves as interactive, then most of the Internet will be considered “cold” media. The new media that I use on a daily basis such as my cell phone and the Internet, I would consider cold media. I use these to interact with other people. Even when I am watching a show, I read the comments and reply to the people about that episode. I consider this interaction. However, when I am reading something on the Internet for my personal needs of benefits, I do not consider it as interacting. In these situations, a person is not having a conversation with someone. He/she is building up his/her own ideas through using hot media. Nowadays, most of the new media is cold. It usually requires a person to interact with one another. I think that media can be hot at sometimes and cold during other situations. Overall, the purpose of the media determines if it is hot or cold.
I would say most, if not all, of media I use day by day is cool media. I think that's more of the norm today with so many social media sites and the ability to comment on anything, there's really an abundance of opportunities to contribute. I would say there could be "lukewarm" media, where the user is limited to what they can "fill in" as McLuhan is quoted saying, however I don't have a particular example in mind. I just generally believe there is always a gray area.
Most of the media I use on a daily basis are "hot," like while I'm watching TV or surfing the internet. However, I think media can definitely be both "hot" and "cold." Take an iPhone for example. You canuse it for games, talking on the phone, texting, video chatting, and many other things that can be classified under varying degrees of "cold" because they require some kind of interaction on the part of the user. It can also be used for "hot" things, like watching vidoes, looking at webpages, and listening to music, which require little if any physical effort. As such, I think media can be "lukewarm" if utilized for both "hot" and "cold" purposes. Media today are generally more toward the "cold" end of the spectrum, in my opinion, but there are stilll new technologies being released that are "hot" in one way or another, like iPods and flat screen tvs.
Most of the media I encounter daily is cold. I mostly text, tweet, check Facebook, SnapChat, check Instagram, play League of Legends, read reddit, and watch videos on Twitch.tv. All of these things feature interaction with other people so they are very cold. I agree that media can be lukewarm. There are definitely degrees to how hot or cool some forms of media are. Texting is extremely cool while Instagram is less so. Because of the interactivity that is becoming more and more prevalent, new media continues to become cooler.
I thought the the term "hot" and "cool" to describe media was really convoluted and didn't make much sense to associate media with those two terms in particular. The article didn't even elaborate fully on exactly what hot media is. It seemed to vaguely imply that it was "old media" where it isn't much of a social tool like I'm guessing... VCR's? For the second part of this question, it definitely is true that media is becoming more and more "cooler" as technology progresses. One good example is the Xbox. When the original Xbox went over to the Xbox 360, a ridiculous number of social features were added. While multiplayer games were scarce on the original, it was a standard for Xbox 360 games to have an online feature as well as voice communication. This is a trend that keeps following technology in every corner.
I think that the majority of my interaction is cold media. I am only active in media that is helping me connect with people, because this is important to me. I don't feel like I have a lot of time for hot media because I don't quite find it productive. I think that some media can be hot and cold. I think Facebook would be a perfect example. I have friends who only use Facebook to gain information, and as a social source of media. I, however, am generally using every one of its communication outlets. I use it to message, write posts, run pages, interact in groups, etc. This could also be the same idea of being lukewarm, where it has the potential for being hot or cold, based on the preference and use of the user. I think that media is increasingly becoming "bi-lingual" and able to be used easier while having more communication functions. For instance, instagram is becoming more hot and more cold simultaneously. They have improved their app so that liking pictures is easier than ever and videos play instantly; however, they have also added more outlets for user interaction, such as direct mailboxes.
Most media we are faced with today is cool, we can almost always interact and respond to whatever it is via comments and discussion, sharing and uploading. The new age of media is absolutely cool, though perhaps the "lukewarm" media could be where the interaction is limited such as just commenting on whatever the piece is rather than being able to actually move it forward via sharing or discuss at a larger level as cooler media forms may allow.
I would say that I encounter cool temperature almost all the time. I really can't think of any types of media that I would come in contact with that would be considered hot except for the occasional magazine. But I would not say that that is a daily thing. Even when I watch TV I do most of it on my computer and there are comment sections or suggestions based on what your facebook friends are watching. I do think that media can be considered hot and cold I just thing now it is primarily cold. I do not think there can be lukewarm data. If hot is considered no interactivity and cold is considered having interactivity what would be inbetween?
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