Skip to main content

In the late 1990s, a group of sociologists and historians at the University of California, Berkeley argued that technology does not drive history. Instead, they said, history drives technology. The theory they put forth came to be known as media determinism.

What is Technological Determinism?

Technological determinism is the belief that technology is the primary driver of social change. This view was first articulated by 19th century French sociologist Auguste Comte, who argued that technological progress was the engine of social evolution.

This idea gained popularity in the 20th century, as technological advances like the automobile and the telephone transformed society. Many thinkers embraced technological determinism, including American historian Henry Adams and British economist Harold Innis.

However, in recent years, technological determinism has come under attack from a number of scholars. They argue that other factors, such as culture and politics, are just as important as technology in shaping society. They suggest that we need to replace technological determinism with media determinism, which takes into account the complex interaction between technology, media, and society.

What is Media Determinism?

Media Determinism is the idea that our choice of media shapes our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. This theory has been around for awhile, but it’s recently gained traction in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.

The election was a perfect example of how media can shape our reality. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were huge factors in deciding the outcome. The way we consume media has a direct impact on how we think and act.

If we want to change the world, we need to start by changing the way we consume media. We need to be more critical of what we’re exposed to and be more intentional about the messages we’re sending out into the world. Only then can we hope to create a more positive, productive future.

The Pros and Cons of Media Determinism

When it comes to the impact of media on society, there are two schools of thought: technological determinism and media determinism. Technological determinism holds that technology is the primary driver of social change, while media determinism believes that it is the content of media that shapes society.

There are pros and cons to both approaches. Technological determinism has the benefit of being able to pinpoint a specific cause for social change. For example, if we want to know why people are more isolated today than they were in the past, we can look to the rise of social media and mobile technology. Media determinism, on the other hand, allows for a more nuanced understanding of how media affects society. For example, rather than attributing the rise in isolation to technology itself, we can look at how the content of social media (eg. platform design, user behavior) contributes to feelings of loneliness.

So which approach is better? There is no easy answer. Both have their merits and shortcomings. However, given the complex nature of media and its impact on society, it seems prudent to adopt a media determinism perspective. This will allow us to better understand the nuances of how media affects us as individuals and as a society.

How to Implement Media Determinism

  1. Stop thinking of technology as independent from society.

We often think of technology as being this thing that is outside of us and that determines how we live our lives. This is what is known as technological determinism. However, it’s important to remember that technology does not exist in a vacuum – it is always shaped by the society that creates it.

  1. Start thinking of media as determining our reality.

Media determinism is the theory that the media we consume shapes our reality more than anything else. This includes the news, television, film, music, and social media. What we consume shapes our thoughts, feelings, and actions more than anything else.

  1. Use media determinism to your advantage.

Now that you know that the media you consume shapes your reality, you can use this to your advantage. Be intentional about the media you consume and make sure that it is helping you to achieve your goals and dreams.


It’s time to replace the outdated concept of technological determinism with media determinism. Technology does not determine our fate, but rather it is the way we use technology that shapes our lives and society. We need to be careful not to allow technology to control us, but instead use it in a way that benefits us and furthers our goals. With media determinism, we can better understand how technology affects us and make sure that we are using it in a way that enhances our lives rather than detracts from them.

One Comment

  • Yuzuriha Masuda says:

    The example of the difference of Technological determinism and Media determinism is so understandable. When some celebrities mention about being alone is good, then I would be comfortable to be alone and spend more time by my self. How to create society can be depending on our willingness. Sometimes people travel for posting on the social media more than seeing the view. Media is always in our life, people and media interact with each other.

Leave a Reply