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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 43. Social Media Including Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat


← 344 | 345 →

· 43 ·


Content and extension: The content of the Social Media are Web sites, whose content is text, hypertext, and images still and video that facilitate social interactions and making new contacts. Social media extends the social contacts of its users.

Cascade: The cascade is from social contacts to a social medium Web site and back to one’s social contacts in an ever-increasing cascade of social interactions.

LOM: Social enhances social contacts and stroking, obsolesces face-to-face and telephone contacts, retrieves oral culture and the sociality of village life, and reverses into narcissism and social primping.

43.1  Introduction

One of the most popular uses of the Internet is social networking. Perhaps the most well known of this genre are Facebook and LinkedIn. Google+ and Twitter are other very popular forms of social networking that we will include in this chapter. In addition to sites that are explicitly about social networking ← 345 | 346 → a number of other Internet-based activities facilitate social networking, including e-mail, instant messaging, Listservs, and chat rooms, which we treated in Chapter 41. Also blogs, which we will treat in Chapter 44, and other sites such as YouTube, treated in Chapter 31, and Flickr and Snapchat, treated in Chapter 20, which let visitors comment on content being shared, can play a social networking role. So do sites that focus on a common interest of many Web surfers....

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