The idea of Marshall McLuhan’s hot and cold mediums stems from consumer interaction. As a society, we have become rather accustomed to sitting back and witnessing everything that goes around us. Such as movies, television, and even the advertisement placed upon the side of a bus. Passively participating in the media that we experience is considered “hot”. Actively participating is considered “cold”. The question for me is, does one impact a viewer more than the other? Its rather common knowledge that actively participating in something establishes more of a connection than passively participating. Such as tying your shoes at an early age. You can be told and shown hundreds of times how to tie your shoes, but you’ll never quite get it until you try yourself, and practice. I find the same goes for McLuhan’s concept of hot and cold. How we obtain information is key to how much we retain such information. As individuals of the modern era, we are bombarded with advertisements and information essentially 24/7. From when we wake up and see the morning news, to when we walk to work or class and see a poster or advertisement. We’ve grown so accustomed to seeing these companies, that we can essentially block them out like they don’t even exist. Or so we think. We still subconsciously witness and experience these (sometimes) targeted ads, and are influenced by them. Companies pay millions if not more for this reason exactly. Take the super bowl for example. The average price of a 30 second super bowl ad was 5.2 million dollars. Because they work, whether we like it or not. Ads are capable of targeting consumers for who they are. Do you run? No? Well then you probably wont see many running shoes ads, but you’ll probably see many Netflix ads. The same goes for just about any other hobby, niche, or activity. This issue is further discussed in the social dilemma on Netflix… oh the irony. How we have not become humans any more; but simply consumers of a product.
Understanding how media is able to impact a society, allows us as designers to reduce the amount of influence we have over a particular individual. Design has an overwhelming impact upon each individual, from every background. As designers, our purpose is to reach as large of an audience as possible. But there must be a compromise to how much we impact an audience. Businesses produce for consumers to consume, but when does it become unreasonable, and potentially detrimental?