The prescribed readings this week were quite complex, and at first glance, had little to do with media studies. Consciousness, memory and perception are ideas that I rarely link to media discourse, but after considering the readings, I have realised that perception, especially, has a lot to do with media and how we engage with it.
Memory and perception play vital roles within the way which we choose to use media. Perception is very individualistic, and each person has their own ‘perception’ of media use. Take an internet search engine, for example. From my own observations, I have found that how people use search engines, especially for research, varies greatly. Whether individuals search for keywords, or whole sentences, their perception of results will all be different. Memory plays a part in perception, as learned habits or ritualistic tendencies can come into play when analysing perception. How an individual learned to use a search engine will greatly affect how they use one now. The memory of past perceptions will influence our newer ones, and since perception is very individual, not everyone receives the same ‘message’. Some people learned to use keywords, and narrow down their search instantly, while others learned to type in a question and hope for the best. In both these scenarios, perception of results will vary, even if the individuals are searching for the exact same information.
People can experience new perceptions, however, and with that can come the learning of new skills. One might engage with a more efficient method of using a search engine (searching for keywords), in a way as a result of trial and error. In the Alan Kay demonstration, we see a woman with no experience playing tennis, yet in an afternoon, she learns to play a decent game of casual tennis, by way of trial and error. Just as one realises simplicity is the key; that search engines look only for particular words (smaller picture), the woman playing tennis realised in order to play, she must simplify her perception, and instead of looking at the big picture, she must focus on the smaller picture (memorised movements.)
We ourselves must balance the small and big pictures in our memory and perception, being able to accept ongoing change and the varying ways of engaging with media.