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Understanding New Media

Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition


Robert K. Logan

Marshall McLuhan made many predictions in his seminal 1964 publication, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man. Among them were his predictions that the Internet would become a «global village,» making us more interconnected than television; the closing of the gap between consumers and producers; the elimination of space and time as barriers to communication; and the melting of national borders. He is also famously remembered for coining the expression «the medium is the message.» These predictions form the genesis of this updated volume by Robert K. Logan, a friend and colleague who worked with McLuhan. In this second edition of Understanding New Media Logan expertly updates McLuhan’s Understanding Media to analyze the «new media» McLuhan foreshadowed and yet was never able to analyze or experience. The book is designed to reach a new generation of readers as well as appealing to scholars and students who are familiar with Understanding Media.
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Chapter 13. Housing


← 136 | 137 →

· 13 ·


Content and extension: Housing is another extension of the skin, but it also extends the arms and back that had previously been employed to carry one’s possessions that can now be stored in the house or home base instead of being carried around from one place to another as nomads do.

LOM: Housing enhances survival, obsolesces the cave or the encampment, retrieves the warmth of the campfire, and reverses into isolation from nature and the outdoors.

The way in which “new media” have impacted housing is the way accommodations have been made to our living and working spaces so as to facilitate the flow of information into and out of our buildings and to create spaces where it is comfortable and ergonomically sound to use various communications devices ranging from television sets to computers. The wired house may become less critical with time because of cell phones and universal Wi-Fi. Although housing has brought an end to our nomadic ways in physical space, we have become “nomadic gatherers of knowledge” in cyberspace (McLuhan, 1964, p. 358). ← 137 | 138 →

Computers have been integrated into home monitoring systems that are used to regulate lighting, heating, cooling, and humidity and for security purposes to guard against unwanted entry, fire, and carbon monoxide.

Another impact of “new media” is the way in which residential and working spaces are bought, sold, and rented. Web sites not only...

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