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Media, Marks and Communication Technology: A proposal for a terminology

 Paper presented at the 17. Nordiske Mediekonference 2005 in Ålborg


Jeppe Bundsgaard,
The Danish University of Education


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A carrying medium is a physical substance in which marks are marked using a communication technology.


Technology is technical objects, social organisation, and individual and group competence.


Communication technology/ modality

Process type


Speech, gestures, facial expressions

0-means production


Drawing, writing by hand & pencil

Single means production


Printing press, typewriter

Dual means production


Telegraph, radio, TV, email, film

Transformed/transported production


www, elearning, games

Interactive production


Figure 1. Categories of communication technologies.


Properties of carrying media



Static, viscose, plastic

Preserving property

Permanent, transient


Portable, hard to port, non-portable


Inexpensive-expensive, dangerous/un-dangerous, easy/difficult to produce

Figure 2. Properties of carrying media.







Synchronic, transchronic, asynchronic


Syntopic, transtopic


Simplex, half duplex, full duplex


One-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-many, many-to-one




Always functions - sometimes functions - never functions


Can be reached from everywhere - falling out - fixed connection


Immediate - delayed

Figure 3. Properties of communication technologies.


Interactive production

Interactive production is when two or more subjects (or institutions) co-produce text. The first producer (S1) is programming a computer (or coining rules for the consumption in another way) so that a text gives the opportunity for the consumer (the co-producer) (S2) to write along and make choices that influence the final text.



A forum is a technology with transchronic and transtopic consumption, half duplex, interactive production, many-to-many-distribution, and the possibility of both short and long latency.

In forums social relations is created solely on a verbal level and does not rest on bodily communication and therefore organisations of fora has to take into consideration if and how social relations should and could be encouraged.

Definition: Mode

Mode is the rules a text is marked and perceived with respectively. And mode is the features of a text that is dependent on how it is marked and should be perceived.



The consumer can:

  1. skim through the text,
  2. mechanically search it,
  3. jump in it,
  4. read it in ones own pace, and
  5. return and read it over again.

And furthermore in the production process, the producer:

  1. can read what he has written so far and be inspired for the following text,
  2. can return in the text and change it,
  3. can change the sequence of the text, and
  4. has the text to himself until he considers it done and hand it over to reading.

 Figure 5. Features of a written text.

  1. The text must be produced as a coherent whole and not in a continuing dialogue,
  2. it is not possible to point to the context with the body, so pointing to the context must be done by textual cues (deixis) and explanations,
  3. the producer is likely not to know the exact knowledge and background of the consumers, so he must set out more explicitly what he intends to express,
  4. the producer only has a limited knowledge of what the consumer think of what the producer utter, and therefore does not know precisely what the consumer concieve of the utterance (get insulted, sorry about, tired of etc.).

Figure 6. Consequences of the mode of writing (when not in the same room at the same time).


A text is most often not
handed over before it is

  1. explicit,
  2. unfolded,
  3. one-dimensional,
  4. well-structured, and
  5. finished.

Figure 6. Cultural expectations towards a text

Producing texts is a complex matter

It requires the producer to keep hold of a lot of different perspectives.


A web hearing is an organization where

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