Use Innis’s Concepts of “Time-Biased” and “Space-Biased” Media and His Ideas on Oral and Written Media to Analyse the Internet

2094 words 9 pages
The 20th century has witnessed dramatic developments in the history of media communications as well as human society. During the first half of the last century, electronic media such as the telegraph, radio and television to name a few were invented and became prevalent. Afterwards, the internet came into being and developed at an unprecedented rate to the point where it is now widely accepted that human history has entered into an information age. As claimed by a number of scholars, the appearance of new types of media can bring about dramatic influences on living conditions. Among them, Harold Innis, pioneer in this area of communication studies, is influential, firstly by employing two dimensions to media, namely time and space, and …show more content…

Therefore people can detach themselves from knowledge or culture by labelling themselves as a reader instead of as a speaker or listener (Rawski, 1987). Innis himself has a bias with oral society. From his perspective, oral societies such as the ancient Greek civilisation captures the original spirits and values of a society which is far more profound than the logical and scientific oriented pursuits of written societies (Innis, 1950). The internet, as a combination of almost all previous forms of media including the telephone, print media, radio and television, can be seen as an advantageous fusion of both oral and written media. This can be well illustrated by the phenomenon of the “virtual Chinese family” in Canada. It refers to the rise of those Chinese families of which their children study in Canada whereas other family members stay in China (Chang, 2007) Traditionally, Chinese people have many time-biased features. Take as an example filial piety, which has the meaning of being respectful for elder generation and ancestors. It is a well-known virtue in China (ibid.). Previously, Chinese people showed filial piety by uniting a family together and in most cases adopting oral media (ibid). In contrast, with the help of the Internet, these virtual Chinese families can talk via skype or write