Marshall McLuhan

Why should communication students learn about him?

It is important for communication students to learn about Marshall McLuhan because he developed a new way of viewing media and its impact on society.  He predicted that media would make the world smaller.  As we know, he was correct.  A message can be sent across the world instantly now, instead of taking weeks or months like it previously did.  The world is more connected now than it ever was before.  It is also important for communication students to study his first book, Understanding Media, which was published in 1964.  This book describes mass media and its impact in society.  The book was written just as the era of mass media was beginning, so it is also important to study it for that reason.

What is his legacy?

Marshall McLuhan wrote 15 books about mass media and media theory, he developed a new way of looking at media, and he introduced the idea of a global community.

What do we remember him for?

I believe that Marshall McLuhan is most remembered for his quote, “The medium is the message”.  There are a lot of different opinions about what this quote actually means, but  I honestly don’t understand what it means.

Famous Quotes and Their Meanings

“I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.”

In today’s media, TV anchors and their interviewees have words put into their mouths via a media coach or a teleprompter.  The same goes for all actors especially those who are in commercials.  They what they have to just to get paid, it doesn’t matter if they agree with it or not.  The problem even exists on the internet.  People create false identities to make themselves seem more appealing to others.  Opinions can often be shaped by what is the popular  choice.


“Mass transportation is doomed to failure in North America because a person’s car is the only place where he can be alone and think”

I think this statement is true, at least for those who own cars.  There is nothing quite like the sensation of being alone in your car and singing your heart out to the radio! You don’t have a care in the world.   Also, for anyone who comes from a big family, it is very possible that the only place to find privacy is in one’s car.  If you have to deal with a crowd at home, what would you want to deal with a crowd on a bus or a train?  Everyone needs a little alone time, even if it is just during a commute.

Does he live on in new media today?

Yes, he does.  There is so much information about Marshall that can be found on the Internet.   If you type “Marshall McLuhan” into the search bar on YouTube, you will have 1,200 results to choose from. The first of which is this video.

Marshall McLuhan even has a posthumous Facebook account and fan page.  Check it out:

His legacy will live on.

(Photos courtesy of


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