Media Ecology. And what’s that? Well, according to Wikipedia media ecology theory is all about the idea that technology more than influencing our society, controls virtually everything in our lives; As a field of academic research it is a study of the ways that media and communication processes affect our perception and understanding of the world around us. The use of the term ecology is regarding the environment in which the medium is used – what they are and how they affect society.
So, that said, we can for sure understand that each country has it’s own media ecology. With that approach in mind, Professor Luiz Batista designed a course for foreign students at FCSH to provide them with “an overview of the changes underwent by the various Portuguese media in the last 25 to 30 years, particularly regarding the widespread use of the internet and mobile communications technologies”.
The idea is to provide to those young students the tools for an academic approach to the Portuguese media environment. For that, Professor Batista, or Luca as he likes to be called, has a selection of relevant readings and obviously promotes regular in class discussions on the subject. He also invites several guest speakers so that they can bring to class a different kind of insight, more hands-on, with some more practical views on some of the topics of the course.
This year was the second year Luca as invited me as one of those guest speakers, to talk to the class about Internet in Portugal and how the Portuguese people use it. For me it is a great honor believe me. Not only because I had the honor of being one of Luca Batista students (he was my Communication Philosophy teacher) and now he is reaching out to me, trusting that I can also teach something to his students, but also because it is to talk about one of my favorite subjects in one of my favorite places, FCSH, and passing to others my way of understanding digital culture in general. And of course, also for having the students, from all over the world, listening to me, hour after hour and in the end, having questions.
Yesterday, in the classroom we had students from the United States of America, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, England … And now, they’ve heard about several things they never heard before. They’ve heard about the importance of the number 42, they’ve heard about War Games, BBS’s, Gopher, Newsgroups … Dial-up connections. They saw numbers on Facebook, on Twitter and about what a heck people do on these networks in Portugal.
Once again, Luca and everyone on the class, thank you very much for the opportunity.