Reaction to McLuhan (Option 7)

When I first read “Medium is the Message” by Marshall McLuhan I could see why the class was told to read it over multiple times before posting about it. The excerpt at some points dragged but was very informative even though it took me about 3  times to read through to somewhat understand what McLuhan was saying. In the reading, McLuhan stresses the importance of “the medium is the message.” I have and many others have heard that phrase before and for me personally I have never thought about the true meaning of it, but after reading I see where McLuhan is coming from and do believe that the medium really is the message. From what I understand McLuhan is saying that the medium basically shapes the way people see the message, and react to the message” (1)  The medium shapes and controls the scales and form of human associations and action.” How people portray the medium a message is coming out of whether the medium be radio, a letter, or television changes the way the message is portrayed and seen by the humans and the association that message has with humans.

The argument McLuhan makes is a strong one, referring to movies, and television talking about clearer visions of information. Such as on page 9 when McLuhan that every medium has a true medium inside of it. Such as when McLuhan discusses speech on page 9, (2)and how the content of writing is speech, and how every medium has a true meaning and something behind it. McLuhan also uses metaphors to bring a sense of imagery to these mediums. He discusses planes being like movies, and how they travel up and down and you need sequence in each medium.

What made me understand McLuhan’s message was thinking about what we learned in class and comparing it to what McLuhan is saying. McLuhan goes through the different mediums and forms of medium to show a growth, and discuses that without one medium we wouldn’t be able to create another. In the beginning excerpt of this reading McLuhan argues that technology has taken away jobs from humans, and that it is taking away from human interaction in the work place, but without new technology this world wouldn’t be able to grow “Positively, automation creates roles for people, which is to say depth of involvement in their work and human association that our preceding mechanical technology has destroyed.”(3) But at the end McLuhan discusses todays mediums and how the message gets through to humans, just like we discussed in class.

(1)Marshall McLuhan, “The Medium is the Message,” Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (London: Routledge, 1975

(2)Marshall McLuhan, “The Medium is the Message,” Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (London: Routledge, 1975

(3)Marshall McLuhan, “The Medium is the Message,” Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (London: Routledge, 1975



6 thoughts on “Reaction to McLuhan (Option 7)

  1. Hi Kylie,
    I enjoyed what you wrote and I agree with you in that McLuhan makes a strong argument. What I got out of the reading is that every invention or innovation has intended benefits and with those come disadvantages. In addition, there are unattended consequences which you touch on in your blog post when you give the example of how technology is taking away human interaction and jobs. NIce job citing specific examples and explaining his theory more in depth.


  2. Hey! So I really liked your post, but i wanted to discuss the last part of your post, the part where you touch upon the human interaction in the workplace basically disappearing. So, not only has technology taken away from interaction in the workplace, but if McLuhan was alive today, he would most absolutely talk about how technology is taking away almost ALL human interaction. I mean I have to think REALLY hard the last time somebody made eye contact withe me when I walk by them in a public space, or even said hi back. It’s not only the walking around when it comes into play, but even in restaurants people are too busy having their noses in their phones to talk to anybody else. I see it all the time when I’m waiting on tables, it’s gotten to the point where I have to vocally grab their attention to get drink orders. I’m just wondering if you have noticed it too and have any comments on how McLuhan would react?


    • I absolutely agree, today we are too invested in what’s happening in the online world to enjoy real life! I also work with the public, and am always having to grab their attention to look up, get eye contact and take an order. I think McLuhan would not be so shocked that this is happening he probably would expect this with technology expanding everyday. To McLuhan and myself, technology is a blessing and curse, it’s helped the world develop so much, but at the same time has made it almost impossible for people to interact.


      • I honestly wonder what McLuhan would’ve thought about today’s technology and his reaction to it, especially concerning the video games and graphic movies that are constantly being produced. I agree with you that he probably wouldn’t be surprised since this is what he was talking about in his paper.


    • You bring up a really good point! I didn’t really think about this aspect of Mcluhan’s writing, but I think you are right. If he was alive today he would probably be really worried about the lack of human interaction. I wonder what he would say about social media-because that is still a form of human interaction, just not traditional. I agree that when I’m at work, some people are ore engrossed in their phones, etc to pay much attention to me (which I kinda see as rude). People are still having conversations and interactions, just very differently-but you brought up really good points that I hadn’t thought about while reading!


      • Thank you!That’s a really great point to bring up about social media, technically we really are still interacting but not in a formal way, I never really thought about that. I feel like if McLuhan was around during the creations of these different technologies, and around today he would some what adapt to them as we have, but still try to keep it “old-school”, kind of like grandparents today who complain about phones, and social media.


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