Marshall McLuhan



Marshall McLuhan

We live today in a merging world of technologies. Technology is shaping our world and society. As a student majoring Mass Communication, I consider every student involve in this career should have some knowledge of Marshall McLuhan because of the following reasons:

  • He persuaded the study of Mass Communications.
  • He stated the theory of Technology as Extensions of the human body.
  • He foreshadowed the merging of mass media into the new media which is the Internet.
  • He divided media into hot and cool media. 


“We shape our tools and they in turn shape us.”

Through his life, he persuaded the study of Mass Communications because he wanted people to know about how important is to know how the communication process produces changes within our society. Technology and communication go together by hand; as one evolves the other one does too. Every time they evolve; changes occur transforming our interactions as human beings. McLuhan explains this change with the appearance of the printing press, and the changes it brought.


Technology as Extensions of the Human Body

According to McLuhan, technology is like extensions of the human body. For example: When we created cars, we extended our legs which are extensions of our body. McLuhan stated that creating an extension will cause an amputation. What he meant by that is that by creating a car, we are amputating our ability to walk.  It is like a cause an effect situation; every extension that takes places will modify some other extension.




“The Medium is the message.”


Through this quote: “The Medium is the message.”, McLuhan is trying to convey the message that whether there are present or future situations; there solution or answer will always be found in the way mass media help this situation to take place. It is like if the Medium is trying to tell us in the way “future” it is going to shape itself. That is way Marshall McLuhan is sometimes referred as “The Oracle of The Electronic Age. His point to reach out is the fact that the “channel” through which the message is convey is the one that completely shapes the message.


“Media is hot and cool.”


According to McLuhan, media is “hot” when it contains a high resolution. Due to its high resolution it will contain a low amount of audiences. For example:  We can consider a book (print media) because it is hot and linear. Its audiences have in their hands all the information. Instead, media is “cool” when it contains a low resolution. Due to its low resolution, it will contain a higher amount of audiences than the hot media because it will offer interaction to the audience. For example: We can consider electronic broadcast media cool and interactive because it makes you as an audience to go in search of the missing information.  Through this classification of media, we can also see how McLuhan foreshadows the merging of Media. For example: For the past couple of years, newspapers readers have been declining. Why? Because nowadays, audiences prefer to go online in order to get inform. The internet (new media) allows them to find videos, more pictures, and more information that the newspaper will not offer them. In other words, the new media offer its audience interaction that is why it is cool.


Marshall McLuhan lived, and still lives today in Media because of his persuasive attitude towards the study of Mass Communications, for his theory of technology as extensions of the human body, for his foreshadows towards the merging of masses, and for his classification of hot and cool media.  For all these reasons, Marshall McLuhan is a pioneer in the field of Mass Communications.


Marshall McLuhan


Marshall McLuhan’s Famous Quotes

  • As technology advances, it reverses the characteristics of every situation again and again. The age of automation is going to be the age of ‘do it yourself.
  • In this electronic age we see ourselves being translated more and more into the form of information, moving toward the technological extension of consciousness.
  • All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.