Game 1: Build a Blogging Tetrad


We will explore how blogging has changed the way we treat media by building a tetrad based on McLuhans 4 laws of media.


The answers we will use to build our tetrad are based on my adaption of these 4 questions from Marshall McLuhan:

ENHANCE: . What does blogging enhance or amplify?

REVERSE: What does blogging become when taken to its extreme limit or over the edge?

RETRIEVE: What does blogging retrieve that was previously obsolete?

OBSOLETE: What does blogging displace or render obsolete?

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Others have done this and seeing their examples will help you. And you might want to think about some good short answers [single words] to contribute.

BTW – Stuart Moulthrop used these 4 laws to examine hypertext in 1991. Moulthrop suggests the idea hypertext leading to a post-post-literacy which I have also mentioned in regards to Generation Text. His article “You Say You Want a Revolution: Hypertext and the Laws of Media (PDF)” was an excellent piece that was written when hypertext was primitive, text based, not as easily linkable or findable in search engines or aggregators and had not seen the light of WWW. It will be fun to do this with blogging.

Does anyone know a quick and dirty way to turn the info into a clickable Tetrad? Dreamweaver Geeks? Volunteer?


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • andrew says:

    come on. dont be shy.
    Enhance: blogging enhances the author’s role and the reader’s particpation
    more than print and more than early hypertext where the author was anonymous or not a major player in the text.

  • andrew says:

    OBSOLETE: the scrapbook and the journal are threatened with becoming obsolete.

  • scotty says:

    RETRIEVE: the link between public and private

  • John Lunt says:

    enhance – it brings more voices into discussions of important issues and can propel issues that would otherwise be ignored up in the overall agenda. ie the Dan Rather 60 Minutes Wednesday edition and George Bush national guard story. Conservative bloggers added voices that would not have happened in the past, forcing the issue of a forged document produced with a word processor rather than an IBM selectric and other discrepencies to the top of the issue. Bloggers also essentially brought down Dan Rather’s career as a result.
    In the extreme in a reverse, gossip and untruths can be perpetrated very very quickly.
    I believe that blogging brings back some degree of democracy – communications of regular people who get to have influence in debates and discussions based on the validity of their ideas and not on their pocketbook or power.
    Obsolete – I believe it’s too early to tell, but I believe mainstream media as we know it as the gatekeepers of information is dead. I think new paradigms will emerge.

  • brad says:

    if literati were as frogs,
    we’d kiss them all and they’d start blogs
    and my deep hope is they’d acquire
    blogability to inspire
    with honest, careful, gracious lines
    so internettees intertwine
    and thru connections become whole
    develop broadband of the soul

  • brad says:

    when blogging becomes blah-blah-blah
    and ‘words’ to ‘sword’ transmogrifah
    turned outward then ‘new paparrazi’
    pervert new media – techno-nazis!
    or thru inversion, narcissism
    brings h-t-m-glazed mee-sticism
    then what was noble does collapse
    and edifying turns to crap

  • brad says:

    the net revives by retro-spark
    the ancient adolescent art
    that long ago thru lock and key
    kept secrets – yes, our diary
    ironic, we now ‘decollate’
    our souls thru how we decorate
    our blogs and sites with media
    to share our joys and tedia

  • brad says:

    for ultimate in paradox
    i skewer M. McLuhan’s thot
    that media will obsolesce
    nay, i suggest what does transgress!
    by constant presence of all modes
    (communications mother-lode)
    the net brings ever-effervescence
    that obsoletes his obsolescence

  • andrew jones says:

    you’re a poet
    and you . . um . .. are sure of it
    thats just great . . . much thanks!!!!!

  • brad says:

    andrew – nice to have an opp to do something funalized (heh-heh-heh), personalized, and poeticized for your blogiversarizing! rock on, and hope all who read TSK have eyes to see and heart-ears to hear. b-

  • rick says:

    REVERSE – i think blogging reverses the trend to just duplicate and replicate what the “successful products” do. instead, i can pushback, re-work, appropriate and applicate in my context while still maintaining a conversation with the original and not succumbing to it’s numbing effects.
    whew. something like that.

  • Andrew B says:

    ENHANCE: The voice of the people.
    REVERSE: Cacophony and chaos.
    RETRIEVE: The village pump.
    OBSOLETE: The control of publication by the vested powers.

  • ENHANCE: Engaging discussion, consensus.
    REVERSE: Cacophony and chaos – see above.
    RETRIEVE: Democracy
    OBSOLETE: Institutional information.

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