Strengths & Limitations of McLuhan’s Ideas

Marshall McLuhan
Internet of everything.
  • Marshall McLuhan in 1964 suggested that technologies of mass media make sure culture transmission in a social fabric which ultimately changes man’s social behavior. He states “We shape our tools and they in turn shape us.” This idea can be applicable to current day and how social media plays a role in our every day lives. Social media can be seen as a tool that we manipulate, but because of our manipulation, then manipulates us (the users).
  • McLuhan’s allusion to the eventual “cooling down” of media was a spot-on prediction. The “hotcold” metaphor outlines that hot levels of audience engagement are those that can’t add to an experience and are passive. And cold levels are those consumers who are able to influence or even actively participate with the media. This, again, can be seen today through the implementation of social media.
  • Mass media and technology are ever changing, and McLuhan’s theory can be applicable throughout various time periods because of the generalized statements.
  • A critique of technological determinism is that technology never forces itself on members of the society. Man creates technology and chooses to use them. The choice of using technology and experiencing its effects therefore lies in the hand of a human being.
Humans choose the media.
  • This approach fails to provide means of understanding the structure of the work of the structures themselves. It can be seen a theory that generalizes the mass media.
  • McLuhan prophesied the global village, but he had nothing at all to say about ownership, control or regulation of that village. He proclaimed that the medium is the message, but he had no interest in the content of that message.
Global Village




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