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.

Twitter’s changing the world

Marshall McLuhan (July 10, 1964, age 52). Complex.

People raised on books have some very simple-minded ideas about TV and other electric media.  TV is not simply a new way to deliver news and entertainment.   Just because people have these ideas does not mean electric media do not have complex effects on psyche and society.  Change is all about us, but it is convenient for the vested interests to pretend that nothing has changed.

Me (March 2010, age 57).  Complex.

People raised on TV seem to have a hard time understanding the new social media.  Take Twitter for example.  If there is anything obvious about what Twitter is doing to psyche and society it is that it is recreating the world as virtual high school.  We all want to know what the cool kids are doing right now.  Brad’s shooting hoops.  Brittany’s nabbed a great pair of Manolo Blahnik pumps.  Leo’s stuck at LAX.  Life as we knew it is collapsing to 140 characters.  But of course one could chose to believe that nothing has really changed.  Twitter’s a faux-fad.   There’s nothing to it.  If we hold our breath it will all go away.

What’s your take?  Simple or complex?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987, p.306-07

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Michael Hinton Friday, March 12th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Culture, Technology, Vol. 1 No Comments

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