Logically, where some degree of interaction with other factors is accepted, it is difficult to justify an insistence on technology or media as the fundamental one. However, Raymond Williams points out, an awareness of the limitations of deterministic stances 'can depress us into a vague and indifferent state in which no necessary factors... can be admitted to exist.' Williams suggests that it is 'a kind of madness' if we are simply determined not to be deterministic (Williams 1981a, pp. 101, 102). It is not very helpful to retreat to the extreme position that 'everything causes everything'. It is a great mistake to jump from the conclusion that the relationship between technology and society is not simple to the conclusion that the use of a particular technology in a specific context has no consequences at all. Any technological change which is great enough is likely to produce some social change. And some of these changes may be widespread and major. For instance, Ruth Finnegan is strongly critical of technological determinism, but she feels able to accept that 'writing... can be seen as having vast consequences for society' (1975, p. 87).
Technology is one of a number of mediating factors in human behaviour and social change, which both acts on and is acted on by other phenomena. Being critical of technological determinism is not to discount the importance of the fact that the technical features of different communication technologies facilitate different kinds of use, though the potential applications of technologies are not necessarily realized.
Whilst concluding that the evidence does not appear to support the strong case for technological determinism, the sociologist Ruth Finnegan suggests that 'there is something to be said for it as a way of illuminating reality for us. In the past social scientists (except perhaps economic historians and geographers) have tended to neglect the significance of both technology and of communication. Perhaps sociologists above all - whom one would have expected to study communication - have tended in the past to take an anti-technological line; they have preferred instead to follow Durkheim, one of the founders of the discipline of sociology, in stressing "the social" as something autonomous and causally independent of such mechanical factors as technology. In this atmosphere, it is both illuminating and stimulating to have the counter-view stated forcibly. The strong case is perhaps stated over-extremely - but its very extremeness helps to jolt us out of our complacency and draw our attention to a range of facts and possible causal connections previously neglected. As a suggestive model of looking at social development it may well have value, despite its factual inadequacies' (Finnegan 1975, pp. 107-8).