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In the 1960s there was this Canadian professor who found that while he was only a few years older than his students – he felt as if there was a generation chasm between them. In looking deeper, he decided that it had much to do with the “technology” that had consumed his students – namely television. It was this observation that started him on a path of analyzing the effects of media== and namely technology on culture. If you are a comm major or broadcast buff, chances are you have heard of Marshall McLuhan – and if you haven’t heard of McLuhan, chances are greater that you have heard of “The Medium is the Message.”
There are many scholars that call McLuhan a nut-job – not the least because his writing is almost incoherent and paradoxical. He offered up tidbits like “Radio was a cool medium – because it required no interaction on the part of the crowd – while television was a warm medium – because it transported people to far-away lands – without them having to leave the couch. None of this makes any sense when you consider the interactivity of radio today – and the passivity of vedging on the couch! But let’s not his fuzzy and words get in the way of a good framework: the Medium is to some degree the Message.
As we put a shovel in our hands we can dig deeper and faster, a bicycle lets us move faster, McLuhan warns us tho that with the advent of each technology – we lose something too – do we need to walk if we can bike or drive a car? A phone extends the voice - -but does it eliminate the skill of writing?
Think about how the advancement of each medium impacts society. We watched movies, television and radio – as entertainment – gathered around one device – with limited options. As devices grew smaller – we could take them with us – so they shifted from being the sole focus – to being background for us. We shifted using media to relax – to using media as a productivity tool.
Another McLuhanism was to never mind the content .. The media reshapes us and effect everything we do. I think McLuhan looked at this
The Medium is the Message
Presentation Title Goes Here<br />Presenter’s Name, Titleand Date<br />The Medium is the Message:<br />Not all channels are created equal<br />Presentation Title<br />Diane Burley <br />Subtitle<br />28 March, 2011<br />
The Medium is the Message<br />Never mind the content; what's important is the medium... The media are extensions of our senses; as they change, they transform our environment & affect everything we do -- they "massage" or reshape us.<br />All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. The medium is the massage.” <br />When … on the phone or on the air, you have no body<br />-- Marshall McLuhan<br />Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, The Medium is the Massage<br />
McLuhan’s Media Types<br />Cool<br />Hot<br />Absorbs one sense Linear<br />Spoon Fed <br />Requires participation<br />Requires more senses <br />Cool/Hot Continuum<br />Reading<br />Dialogue<br />Lecture<br />TV <br />Movie<br />Seminar<br />Comic Books<br />Radio<br />
All bets are off<br />Cool<br />Hot<br />Absorbs one sense Linear<br />Spoon Fed <br />Requires participation<br />Requires more senses <br />Cool/Hot Continuum<br />Twitter, Web, SMS, HiDef<br />Reading<br />Dialogue<br />Lecture<br />Talk Radio<br />Movie<br />Seminar<br />Comic Books<br />Hi Def TV<br />
“Never mind the content … (?)<br />The medium changes how we do things – so it changes how we interact with information. Therefore the information must adapt to our new needs.<br />It’s not that content becomes irrelevant – its that only relevant content counts.<br />