This theory meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in any message it would transmit or convey, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived.
This theory emphasizes the role of the media as the carrier of information, the progress of each information dissemination technology, has brought the change of information dissemination.
The most important role of the media is “the habit that influences our understanding and thinking”. Therefore, for society, the dissemination of truly meaningful and valuable “information” is not each time the contents of the media, the possibility of nature, but the use of communication tools in this era of profound social change and bring.
For example, such as Facebook and twitter, they successfully converge various pieces of information to the same platform, this kind of technology make ordinary people’s information is likely to get attention, and get the maximum range of communication transmission. (as long as the information known to the public, can arouse the interest of the public at large)
The medium and the message are inseparable, losing either side has no meaning, either side can’t exist independently. Also, the same message in different medium, the effect is different, the medium itself on the transmission of information. For example, clothing contains the information of people, people’s content: gender, age, occupation, identity, class, temperament, personality, taste, etc. Clothing is different, give people the impression is completely different.
It is because of the existence of the medium, to make information with the possibility of being spread. Now it can be understood that it is because of the continuous progress of the media, the dissemination of information to be more optimized.
On the other hand, his theory is also very extreme and one-sided. Firstly, in his theory, the media technology is the only decisive factor of social change and development, which ignores the role of various social factors such as production relations and social relations. Secondly, he put too much emphasis on technology, did not fully understand the person’s subjectivity and initiative.
In conclusion, a lot of people think that he is too prominent the role of media technology, deny the existence of the message. But we can also think that he considers the role of the media in history from a macro view, rather than on the microscopic things to discuss. And more importantly is that he is from a functional point of view of the problem.
McLuhan, M. (2006), ‘Understanding Media’, in: Durham, M.G. & D. Kellner (2006), Adventures in Media and Cultural Studies, Malden, MA: Blackwell, pp.107-116