Marshall McLuhan’s thoughts and ideas have always been somewhat controversial, considering most of his work was done in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He was on the “cutting edge” of electronic media, and that is what his focus was. He actually predicted the World Wide Web 30 years before it was even invented!
He had an idea of a Global Village. He felt that we were going away from individualism, and driving toward a collective identity. He says the adolescence and teens want what the group has or what the group wants. He explains this as tribal. He says people are moving away from individual man, with individual thoughts and ideas. To Tribal Man, someone who goes along with the group. We are concerned with what the group know, and what the group does. Being “with it” as he describes, which means having no point of view, since we accept things as they are.
He discusses how things have become and are becoming instant, we know world news/breaking news right away. He also explains how we are moving away from a print culture. The role of books is changing, not becoming obsolete but simply changing.
His ideas also draws close ties to the idea of convergence. Bringing many different technologies together into one. He speaks of an assembly line changing from doing one thing at a time to a machine doing 50 things at once. This idea especially speaks to the technology of Smart Phones, that I am focusing on for my research project.
Every single one of McLuhan’s thought provoking ideas about the future of electronic media have not only come to be true, looking on his ideas decades later. But most of them can directly relate to the smartphone. The idea of having to be in constant connection to one another. Whether it is through actual text messaging or phone conversations. But more than that the fact that social media can be accessed anywhere at anytime correlates to his idea of the tribe. Wanting to know what everyone else knows.
Being able to do many different things at the same time is also a major player in the smart phone market. Being able to be on the phone with someone while on the internet, and setting up a calendar task, and checking twitter. All of these ideas were mentioned by McLuhan. He predicted all of this technology would take place, and it has, it’s really remarkable.