Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition
Chapter 27. The Telephone
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“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”
—Western Union internal memo (1876)
Content and extension: The content of the telephone is the spoken word, hence the telephone extends the ear, the voice, the spoken word, and the mind by eliminating spatial intervals through the use of electricity, and, as such, it extends the mind.
Cascade: The cascade is from the mind to the spoken word to the transmitting telephone to the receiving telephone to the ear of the receiving party.
LOM: The telephone enhances spoken communication at a distance, obsolesces the telegraph, retrieves the ambassador, and reverses into the smartphone. ← 223 | 224 →
27.1 Impact of the New Media on the Telephone
There are several ways in which digitization has transformed the telephone. The first is the emergence of the smartphone, to which we will devote Chapter 37. Next in line is voice mail, which obsolesced the tape-recorder-based answering machine. The very term voice mail, probably a generalization from e-mail, indicates that this is a new medium. Because of the ease with which telephone messages can be created and accessed the functionality of the telephone has increased.
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