The reading opens by discussing the examination of a new medium of communication, putting forth the suggestion that, conventionally, the content that is produced with a new medium is analyzed rather than the medium itself. It invokes the titular “watchdog and the thief” metaphor, suggesting that the content of a new communication venue is “the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind,” implying that the true meaning of a new form of media is in the inherent nature of the form itself.
While I see the author’s point in acknowledging that the form of information communication alters the way our minds process information in the abstract, I take slight issue with the suggestion that content is inherently secondary in importance. It is certainly true to say that the same information communicated differently is fundamentally different in the way in which it is processed by the mind, however I would posit that the true power of any mean of communication is in the ideas which flow through it, the breakdown of forms of discussion, and the wealth of information available. While the internet offers a very different kind of communication, open to a very different group of people, those details are significant insofar as they impact the flow of information through the internet. That’s my thinking, anyway.