A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.  Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, I present one of McLuhan’s observations and talk about its relevance today.  300 ideas. 300 days.  300 posts.

The difference involvement makes

Marshall McLuhan (1966, age 54/55).  Tony understands.

I was talking with Tony Schwartz, the New York sound wizard, again today.  I must say he embarrassed me with his total understanding of something I have written about in Understanding Media.  In this electric age in which we live, I was saying, we are bombarded with instant information on all sides at once.  The result is all our senses are involved in depth.

“Marshall,’ he said, “it’s the difference between getting a telephone call that your house is burning and receiving a letter telling you that your house has burned!”

Me (July, 2010, age 57).  Is involvement a Trojan horse?

Businesses often say they want their employees to be more involved.  Whether you’re a manager or an employee you might ask yourself whether it would actually be a good thing if all employees were more involved.  Involvement, as McLuhan suggests, comes at a psychic price.  Ringing phones may raise your heart rate, but do they make it easier to put out fires?

How involved are employees at the place where you work?  Is increased involvement what businesses really want?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

PS:  From me.  Happy birthday Marshall!  Please join us [virtually] as we raise a glass to toast the 99th birthday of Marshall McLuhan.

Reading for this post

Barrington Nevitt with Maurice McLuhan, Who Was Marshall McLuhan? 1994, p. 152.

Tags: , , , ,

Michael Hinton Wednesday, July 21st, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Business, Communication, Culture, Management, Vol. 1 No Comments

Leave a Reply