“The medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.” -Marshall McLuhan
Marshall McLuhan is the man who predicted the age of Internet way before it came into reality. Today’s Doodle honors his 106th birthday by animating McLuhan’s division of history into colorful little GIFs.
Born in Canada in 1911, McLuhan studied at the University of Manitoba and University of Cambridge before becoming a lecturer at the University of Toronto. He rose to prominence in the 1960s for his work as a media theorist and for coining the term “global village”, which was a prescient vision of the internet age.
McLuhan’s preeminent theory was his idea that human history could be divided into four eras: the acoustic age, the literary age, the print age and the electronic age. He outlined the concept in a 1962 book called The Gutenberg Galaxy, which was released just as the television was starting to become popular.
He predicted the world was entering the fourth, electronic age, which would be characterized by a community of people brought together by technology. He called it the “global village” and said it would be an age when everyone had access to the same information through technology. The “global village” could be understood to be the internet.
“We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.”
His famous phrase “the medium is the message” means the way we try to convey a message influences the way any message is understood – and in some ways is more important than the message itself.
A Canadian professor, philosopher, and public intellectual, Marshall McLuhan’s work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory, as well as having practical applications in the advertising and television industries. (Cover Image- Yousuf Karsh/marshallmcluhan.com)
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