“The focal point of McLuhan’s ideas is that a society dominated by electronic media will differ from a print-dominated one because people relate to the world around them according to which senses they use to learn about it “(Rosenberry & Vicker, 2017, p. 135).
Through McLuhan’s ideas, we can start to see a pathway of points that both benefit and limit the growth of society. The question to address throughout this examination is implementing this theory and whether technology may still provide insightful use moving forward.
One of the most vital points I believe McLuhan makes the correlation of technology with that of a shovel. As technology continues to become more integrated with our daily lives, the extension and data at our fingertips are becoming that much more unceasing. It is easy to agree with him that the communication levels and intricacy that may be achieved through technology will change society’s infrastructure compared to the original print or word of mouth ways. In a limiting way, this same statement does not provide the other soft skills and interpersonal communication strengths lost in continuing some of the more traditional forms of communication.
Comparatively, McLuhan makes a further statement, arguing that it does not matter as much to focus on the content of the medium but the specific medium conveying the message. This in itself I see as a relatively limited statement. Yes, the medium may alter the framework slightly and change how others interact. Although, the content that is being presented is psychologically having a significant impact on those individuals. A highly violent message versus family-friendly content may drastically affect the communication style moving forward for those individuals. In the same way, this point also highlights how people may be affected differently by different mediations. Depending on a specific person’s learning style, the medium that they may receive a news report through may drastically impact how the person feels about the story.
Lastly, the idea of creating a global village; McLuhan highlights the ability for others to interact with one another as if they were in person. The strong point seen in this is that it is mainly true, especially in modern-day society. Without skipping a beat, we can live-stream converse with others from almost any point around the world. The limitation is that it does not replace the connection that may be received by engaging with someone in person. An example of this may even be seen in reality tv-shows today. In a show called The Circle, the participants are asked to converse online with random people and build relationships. The only catch is that they genuinely have no clue as to who they may be speaking with. The authenticity has fallen through.
Many of McLuhan’s ideas are found to be insightful and prophetic to reality. The question is, instead, when does this technological boom alter reality too much?
Rosenberry, J., & Vicker, L. A. (2017). Applied mass communication theory: a guide for media practitioners. Routledge.