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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 4. To What Extent Do the “New Media” Confirm or Contradict McLuhan’s Predictions


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4.1  New Patterns

“New media” have impacted upon every facet of modern life, creating cultural, social, political, and economic change. In cultural life they have touched upon education and the arts, including literature, the visual arts, cinema, music, theater, opera, and ballet. In the social sphere they have changed the way in which we interact with each other, with whom we interact, and why we interact. They have reconfigured the relationship between those that govern and those that are governed and the way in which those that govern are chosen. In the economic sphere, every industrial sector has been affected, from manufacturing and information services to construction and the delivery of personal services. All aspects of business have been affected, from sales and marketing to fulfillment, administration, and organizational development. One cannot point to any activity that has not been influenced or impacted by the “new media.”

The impact of “new media” affects all age groups, but the “new media” are particularly popular with young people. Older folks tend to limit their use to online banking, shopping, and booking travel. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation as reported by UPI on March 9, 2005, youngsters ← 43 | 44 → are exposed to media about 6.5 hours per day. Not only do they spend a great deal of time with media, they also like to...

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