Monday, July 12, 2004

The Medium Is Still The Message

I was recently forwarded a great story from Sam Whitmore of Forbes in which he reminds us of some of Marshall McLuhan's most prescient quotes...

...McLuhan was as prescient as he was nutty. Among his pronouncements back in 1964:

"Electric appliances, far from being labor-saving devices, are new forms of work, decentralized and made available to everybody." Have you done your e-mail today?

"Movies in America have not developed advertising intervals simply because the movie itself is the greatest of all forms of advertisement for consumer goods."

"The telephone demands complete participation, unlike the written and printed page. Any literate man resents such a heavy demand for his total attention." Don't you love caller ID?

Most of us think of "media" as television and radio programs, movies, music and magazines, or corporations...that profit from creating them. Not McLuhan. He saw clocks as "mechanical media that transform tasks and create new work and wealth by accelerating the pace of human association." Simply put, time is money.

"The electric light ended the regime of night and day, of indoors and out-of-doors," McLuhan wrote. "Cars can travel all night, ballplayers can play all night and windows can be left out of buildings. It is pure information without any content to restrict its transforming and informing power."