Tag Archive: breakup


Gershon talks about media ideologies and what does it mean: “Media ideologies are a set of beliefs about communicative technologies with which users and designers explain perceived media structure and meaning.” Gershon starts off by asking her students: “What counts as a bad breakup?” She was surprised when her students says mediated breakups, that is breakups by texting, or by Facebook. And that breaking up face-to-face is widely considered the ideal way to end a relationship, where as through the wrong medium it shows the initiator’s cowardice, lack of respect, callousness, or indifference. The reason why people think break up through technologies is bad is because of media ideologies and different people have different media ideologies. Media ideologies about one medium are always affected by the media ideologies people have about other media and the importance about a medium is how much it resembles another medium. Like e-mail and letters, students think of e-mail is formal is because students communicate with professor and parents through e-mails and letter is a symbol for formality. Media ideologies also revolve around people’s ideas about how the structure of technology shapes the ways you can use it to communicate.

To sum up, remediation, different media ideologies, different idioms of practice – all these analytical concepts point to how people are experiencing these media as new media. Because Facebook, texting, and so on are relatively new ways to communicate with each other, people haven’t developed a widespread consensus on how to use the different media. People are still in the process of figuring out the social rules that might govern how to use these technologies. It shows that media matter during breakups offers insights into the ways people think about different modes of communication and the ways they experience the newness of these different modes.

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The Breakup 2.0 Reading Summary

Gershon begins by asking her students “What counts as a bad breakup?” The answers she was getting intrigued her and sparked an interest in a research study. Through the answers she received, Gershon saw that what was often considered a “bad” breakup, was one that was mediated, conducted through media. From this idea, Gershon goes on to question why and how mediated breakup are bad and how people come to that conclusion. She talks about how it is socially agreed upon that a mediated breakup is bad, but there isn’t a consensus of what it is bad or good with a mediated breakup. She began to see that it wasn’t necessarily the fact that the person who broke up with the other used technology as the medium, it seemed that people thought this was bad because people recognize that there are other mediums that could be used. For example, one may see a breakup through Facebook as worse than a breakup through email. Gershon’s main thesis is that people’s beliefs about media and its uses are decided through idioms of practice, people talking and agreeing on when it is appropriate to use certain mediums and how to use them. People are the ones who decide the social “laws” of using these technologies.

Gershon began thinking of this when she saw a pattern in the answers she recieved from her students. She then began to analyze why these patterns exist. For her study, she interviewed 72 people, most og whom were college students. She also interviewed some older couples who had lived together prior to the breakup to contrast the stories and the role that technology played in their breakup.