(Decided on consonance for the title of this post vs. S**t McLuhan Said. I applaud my own restraint.)
When I feel a bit worn down by 140-160 characters of digital/new/social media and technology quips, purported wisdom, snarky-ness and links – my own included…
When I feel like there is one outline used by most authors for all books about and/or related to digital/new/social media and technology that tend to extrapolate the 140-160 character form to mean 140-160 pages of quips, purported wisdom, snarky-ness and links – with many illustrative case studies…
When it seems after following a week of posts and memes from Advertising Week I’ve come across a scare number of interesting, stimulating, or new concepts…
I turn to Marshall McLuhan. Mainly because he was right. In 1964, he was right about 2012. Maybe more right about 2012 than most of us trying to figure out the reality of 2012 that he could only prognosticate about. I don’t think he was completely right, actually have a few bones of contention related to what he said, but, by and large, the dude nailed it.
Which then gives me hope. It grounds me. Makes me feel my philosophical basis for my day to day is all good. That I don’t need a new/social media guru to understand what’s going on around us. Gives me a critical basis to consider new ways of thinking being proposed in 140-160 characters or pages.
So I’ve curated some of my favorite McLuhan quotes into some memes below. So when this world is gettin’ you down, you can refer to these and get yourself reinvigorated and back into those bubbling, flowing streams of social-ness with renewed perspective and some damn good zingers to boot. (FYI, there are quite a few Twitter accounts for McLuhan…including his zombie…)
SUITABLE FOR T-SHIRTS, PLAQUES OR POWERPOINT SLIDES WITH A STRONG VISUAL
There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening.
Our time is a time for crossing barriers, for erasing old categories, for probing around.
Whoever sharpens our senses tends to be anti-social.
MEDIA AIN’T JUST A PLACE TO PUT ADS
All media are extensions of some human faculty – psychic or physical.
Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication.
Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments.
Media, by altering the environment, evoke in us unique ratios of sense perceptions. The extension of any one sense alters the way we think and act – the way we perceive the world.
WE CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH OR CHANGE IS HARD
Nothing can be further from the spirit of new technology than “A place for everything and everything in its place”.
Our age of anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools, yesterday’s concepts.
When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavors, of the most recent past.
We look at the present in a rearview mirror. We march backwards into the future.
In the name of “progress”, our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old.
DEALING WITH INFORMATION OVERLOAD
The instantaneous world of electric informational media involves all of us, all at once. No detachment or frame is possible.
Ours is a brand-new world of allatonceness.
At the high speeds of electric communication, purely visual means of apprehending the world are no longer possible; they are just too slow to be relevant or effective.
Our electrically-configured world has forced us to move from the habit of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition. We can no longer build serially, block-by-block, step-by-step, because instant communication insures that all factors of the environment and of experience coexist in a state of active interplay.
PROGRESS LEADS TO REGRESSION OR GETTING BACK TO BASICS
Electric circuitry is recreating in us the multi-dimensional space orientation of the “primitive”.
We have begun again to structure the primordial feeling, the tribal emotions from which a few centuries of literacy divorced us.
Under conditions of electric circuitry, all the fragmented job patterns tend to blend once more into involving and demanding roles or forms of work that more and more resemble teaching, learning, and “human” service.