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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 39. The Internet


← 302 | 303 →

· 39 ·


Content and extension: The content of the Internet, a hybrid of telecommunications and computing, is networked computers that can receive and/or transmit information within the following environments: e-mail, listservs, the World Wide Web, social media, chat rooms, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), instant messaging, and Usenet newsgroups, as well as access to other services such as telnet and ftp. The Net extends computing, community, and the mind and shrinks the planet into a wired global village.

Cascade: The cascade is from networked computers to the Internet via phone lines and back to networked computers via the same phone lines.

LOM: the Internet enhances the connectivity of computer users, obsolesces teletype and fax and the specialist as the source of information, retrieves community as in a global village, and reverses into information overload and deception.

One of the most common causes of breaks [as in a break boundary] in any system is the cross-fertilization with another system, such as happened to print with the steam press, or with radio and movies (that yielded the talkies).

—McLuhan (1964, p. 39) ← 303 | 304 →

39.1  A Medium of Media

The Internet is an integral part of modern life. The total number of Americans using the Internet is 280 million or 86.5% of the total American population, the number of Canadian users is 33 million or 92.9% of the population, and there are...

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