McLuhan, Liu, and Markdown: A Reflection
By: Alex Fatato
Writing in Markdown in this lab has been my first experience coding ever. When considering this assignment, I started to think about the last time I was introduced to a new medium. I’ve been working with programs like Microsoft Word and Google Drive for years. I have also had an iPhone, social media, and other forms of media for many years. So I can’t really place the last time I learned to communicate within a new medium. So, using macdown to write in Markdown has been a fairly refreshing and interesting experience!
I found Liu’s essay ironically dense for an essay on methods of communication. I found myself rereading many paragraphs but overall, did enjoy his ideas. Exploring Markdown led me to one of Liu’s quotes in particular:
"Media is/are not a monolithic, one-way determinism but a buzzing, unpredictable 'ecology'."
Learning to use Markdown has certainly proved unpredictable! The conversion of code in real time is an experience I’m not familiar with and it almost seems like the program is alive, or “buzzing”. The closest comparison I can think of is programming music in a Digital Audio Workstation. Except instead of organizing musical notes and dynamics, there are letters, italics, bolds, and block quotes. It also began a personal reflection on how writing and producing music is also a medium, as McLuhan said, nobody ever “thought to ask what a melody was about.”
Markdown seems to be pretty user friendly and not very difficult to understand. It is simple, can be converted easily, and utilizes plain text files. However, the most notable limitation to me is its lack of accessibile control over the formatting of the text that you might see in a WYSIWYG program.
Writing in Markdown sort of made me feel like this mad scientist:
To locate this strange photo, I simply google image searched Mad Scientist.
I’m not sure how to fit in bulleted or numbered lists - since music is my favorite medium here are my favorite albums of 2017:
- Bad History Month - Dead and Loving It
- Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked at Me
- Big Thief - Capacity
- Daniel Caeser - Freudian
- Palehound - A Place I’ll Always Go
- Richard Edwards - Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset
- Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
- Thundercat - Drunk
- Pile - A Hairshirt of Purpose
- Noam Pikelny - Universal Favorite