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Digitization is a process that has both symbolic and material dimensions.
As communication scholar Tony Feldman (1997, 2) argues, unlike analogue data with “continuously varying values, digital information is based on just two distinct states.
This has motivated many scholars to highlight the “immaterial” (e.g.
Manoff, 2006, 312) quality of information generated through digitization, while deemphasizing the material systems (transistors) on which that information is housed.
While it is useful to recognize the active mediation work performed by digital technologies, Jonathan Sterne’s history of sound reproduction makes a strong case that the same is true for analog technologies.
There is a pervasive sense that analog technologies produce representations that are more faithful to the original than digital representations that continually reconstruct bits in the moment.