Marshall Poe is a history professor at the University of Iowa and the author of A History of Communications. This week, he'll deliver the talk "From Grunts to Tweets: Communication and Human History" at the University of Memphis as part of the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities Sesquicentennial Lecture in History. Poe's book starts with the grunting of cavemen. For this interview, we used a more contemporary approach: Twitter. Below is a condensed version.

Flyer: You forward a pushed/pulled theory of media (books, internet, etc.). Can you sum it up in 140 characters?
Marshall Poe: In media history, demand generally creates supply, not the other way around. How's that?

So society pushed, media pulled? Or is it the other way around?
Let's put it this way: You don't get a new medium until a lot of people need it.

Your book covers the history of media. What do you see as the future?
The internet will become TV. In fact, it already has.

In that a computer is another box we are looking at, yes?
I'm looking at one right now. I bet you are too.

Part of your talk is on what's new about the internet, but you've argued there's nothing new. What am I missing here?
The tubes don't do anything new, but they do old things better and cheaper than before. That's new. But, sorry, no revolution. When a medium does my dishes, the revolution will have begun.

One last question. Your bio mentions that you played basketball with Barack Obama. [Both were at Harvard at the same time.] How's your game?
Alas, my game is as dead as Elvis. But I schooled BO back in the day. I doubt he remembers ...

From Grunts to Tweets talk by Marshall Poe, the University Center at the University of Memphis, Thursday, March 21st, 6:30 p.m. A booksigning follows.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment



Hungry Memphis

Michael Donahue's Best Bets: Irish Car Bomb

Tiger Blue

Penny Speaks, We Listen

News Blog

RDC Rebooted as 'Memphis River Parks Partnership'

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Jones Rolling With Short Films

News Blog

Southern Hot Wings Festival 2018

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Don Lifted

Politics Beat Blog

Weekend Review: Confederate Statues Loom Over GOP Debates

Music Blog

Keith Sykes Leads Ardent Into a New Era

We Saw You

Drew Erwin opens downtown studio. Plus party news.

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

"1,300 Men: Memphis Strike '68" To Screen At Main Library


More by Susan Ellis

© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation