Abstract - The Information Society 20(4)

The Mutual Shaping of Technology and Society in Videotex Newspapers: Beyond the Diffusion and Social Shaping Perspectives

Pablo J. Boczkowski

This paper argues that a mutual shaping lens enables a more encompassing account of the joint processes of technological and social change in new media than the diffusion of innovations and social shaping of technology perspectives. Drawing from recent work in sociology and history of technology, organization studies, social informatics, and computer supported cooperative work, this paper suggests that the shaping and diffusion of media artifacts are so intimately tied that they should be seen as the two sides of the same innovation coin. Using examples from the history of videotex newspapers in the United States, the analysis shows that actors simultaneously pursued interdependent technological and social transformations, that this was an ongoing process in which partial outcomes in the technological domain influenced social events at a later phase—and vice-versa—and that such process was influenced by historical developments.

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