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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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Part III. The Analysis of New Media Not Dealt With in Understanding Media


← 272 | 273 →


The Analysis of New Media Not Dealt With in Understanding Media

In Part III we turn to the new media that emerged after 1964 that McLuhan never had a chance to treat in UM and repeat our analysis for these newer media, many of which are the digital media that we have defined as “new media.” We devote a chapter to each of these new media. We also identify and analyze the enabling technologies that made the “new media” possible in Chapter 51. The numbering of the chapters in Part III we use continues from where we left off at Chapter 33 in Part II. The ordering attempts to treat related media together and to follow a more or less chronological order.

Are the Mass Media Abating in Influence?

At the start of the twenty-first century, it seems that mass communication is giving ground to a many-to-many model of communication, implemented via the Internet, which rolls together the point-to-point model of the telephone with the one-to-many model of print and broadcast. (Lewis, 2003, p. 95) ← 273 | 274 →

This does not mean that mass media will disappear but rather that they no longer dominate or monopolize the way in which entertainment and information is disseminated and accessed. Just as the spoken word did not disappear with writing but rather its role changed so it will be with mass media. They will still play a major...

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