McLuhan, Marshall. (1964) Understanding Media


Electric technology has extended us in “a global embrace” because it has overcome the restrictions of space and time. It reduces our world to a “global village” where the individual is de-emphacized and everyone is involved in everyone else’s lives.

The Medium is the Message

We need to be reminded that the content of a medium does not matter (the content of a medium is always another medium).  Rather it is the medium that is the message:

“the message of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs.”

The content of the medium actually distracts us from the real issue which is how the medium itself is affecting human thought and changing social behaviors.  A few pages later he explains:

“the effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinion or concepts, but alter sense ratios or patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance.”

Media Hot and Cold

“Hot media” are full of information and require less interpretation and participation.  “Cold media” do not convey much information.  It is up to the audience to understand and make meaning.


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