Santa or the Grinch: Paradoxes Presented by the Use of Today’s Popular Media

Abstract

This paper grew out of a larger study designed to investigate the usage patterns and effects of the introduction of the personal computer and the Internet in both the contemporary workplace and the home. During the course of analysis of the data collected several paradoxes associated with this usage emerged. The first, and in many ways the most important, was the paradox between the ability of Internet-based communication and software computer programs to facilitate the educational process while at the same time altering the learning patterns of the student users, affecting writing, and potentially affecting their cognitive processing. Secondly, while the usage of these technologies fulfilled the early expectations for creating a more efficient work place, it also created a new demand for increased production. This new expectation has blurred the line between professional and personal time with the usage of these technologies entering domestic space and has created the potential for anxiety and disjuncture. Thirdly, in research endeavors, these technologies have allowed people to collect and evaluate data in newer and quicker ways; however the demand for increased productivity has also altered the research function as attention is directed toward the production of papers and not the development of grander explanatory theories. Also, while the use of many Internet-based communication modalities promotes mobility, their constant use can also contribute to the avoidance of personal contact, isolation, and egocentric behavior. This paper describes these paradoxes and concludes by examining the emerging trends and patterns that these paradoxes have come to reinforce.

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Correspondence to Terry Moellinger.

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Moellinger, T. Santa or the Grinch: Paradoxes Presented by the Use of Today’s Popular Media. Hum Stud 33, 205–220 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10746-010-9164-7

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Keywords

  • Learning
  • Work
  • Efficiency
  • Demand
  • Isolation
  • Mobility