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Electronic Cultures

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Submitted By lovelln
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To critically assess the impact of, what Marshall McLuhan refers to as, ‘electronic cultures’ on contemporary social life, it is necessary to first understand what McLuhan means by, ‘electronic cultures’.
McLuhan was a Canadian, professor of English who extensively researched and wrote about the impact of media on society and man. McLuhan believed that to determine the impact of communication on social change the medium required analysis, not the content. He coined the phrase ‘the medium is the message’ that is, it is not the explicit message that has the greatest impact. It is the medium; the medium creates the level of human participation or action, independently of the overt message. Therefore, it is each different medium or method of sending and receiving information that defines the culture.
The first is oral culture; communication is transmitted via sound, such as speech and language that requires face-to-face social interaction. The second is writing and printing culture; information is transmitted and received using written and printed word. It is highly visual. The electronic culture is the third (Macionis & Plummer, 2010, p. 764, McLuhan, 1995); it is today's period. A majority of information is transmitted and received by means of electronic mediums. When the medium or the way we receive information changes so does the way the brain receives it and process it. The transition from verbal to printed text, changed not only how we process information internally but it also altered the need for two people to have face-to-face communication, information is received visually instead of auditory, and it was no longer a social activity, it became a solitary activity (McLuhan, 1995).
The medium we use ‘reinvents’ our consciousness (McLuhan, 1995) and changes our social lives (Macionis & Plummer, 2010, p. 764). This suggests the method or tool used…...

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