Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sho-Nuff Hi-Def Web-Estate

Fifty years ago the great Canadian Communications Theorist Marshall McLuhan had the insight to express his cautionary thoughts on the effect of television on people:

According to McLuhan, modern communication technologies such as radio and television globalize communication by allowing users from all levels of society around the world to easily connect with each other and exchange ideas instantaneously.

What would McLuhan say today about the condition of the Forth Estate? It would not be a stretch that he would be pleased at the precision of his predictions but astounded and dismayed at the consolidation of power in the hands of a few media moguls empires.

"... He describes the light bulb as a medium without any content. Likewise, the message of a newscast about a heinous crime may be less about the individual news story itself — the content — and more about the change in public attitude towards crime that the newscast engenders by the fact that such crimes are in effect being brought into the home to watch over dinner."

Due to the enhanced speed of communication online and the ability of people to read about, spread, and react to global news very rapidly, McLuhan says this forces us to become more involved with one another from countries around the world and be more aware of our global responsibilities.

Medium is the Size of the Message in The Global Village.

Information Islands on the Final Frontier of the Blue Planet.

There is some disagreement in the consideration of the Internet as promoting the idea of a global village. Modern theorist Glenn Willmott says McLuhan's idea of the global village is a clich├ęd phrase that does not take into account the corruption of the Internet by government and corporate censorship and control over information on the web (news and entertainment information in particular).


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