Marshall McLuhan

The Medium is the Message

Marshall McLuhan’s communication theory and ideas about hot and cold mediums have remained relevant and somewhat accurate since he released it to the world. Although society and technology have changed since his lifetime, the core principals of his theory have continued to be accurate. Marshall McLuhan’s idea of hot and cold mediums is simple. Hot mediums, such as radio and film (of his time), are clear, information-rich media that require little participation by the listener or viewer and are effective in communicating the message with high quality sound or clear visuals. Cold mediums, such as political cartoons and television (of his time), are seen as low-definition and cool because they require more of our involvement from the listener or viewer. However, in the modern-day, television would most likely be seen as a hot medium because it has developed into having both quality sound and clear visuals. And like television, almost all technology has advanced and changed rapidly resulting in a different scale of whether a medium is hot or cold, but his point remains the same, the medium is the message. Now more than ever the world is filled with electronics, WIFI, and technology that connects people from all over in an instant with just the touch of a screen. Because of this, we have been beginning to see something Marshall McLuhan calls the Global Village. His idea of a Global Village describes how the entire world becomes more interconnected as a result of the distribution of media technologies throughout the world. For instance, when the terrorist attacks of 9/11 happened, it was broadcasted live across almost every new station in America. Millions of people sat behind their televisions viewing the same information, the same stories and feeling the same emotions. Simultaneously, the nation was receiving extensive amounts of information all on the same medium source. This is where Marshall McLuhan would remind us, the medium is the message. If the technology that developed television or the internet into the modern medium it is today was not invented, millions of Americans would have woken up the day after 9/11 to find out the news of the attacks from a newspaper. Reading about these attacks instead of watching it happen live time through a screen would greatly impact the way the message was interpreted and the intensity of emotions that would be felt. For these reasons I know that Marshall McLuhan is right in saying the medium is the message.

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