When I remember that McLuhan wrote The Medium is the Massage in 1967 I am astounded. What he talks about in terms of shift and developments in media, is still very applicable to today and speaks to our experience specifically with the Internet which did not exist in nearly the same capacity back then. I found these quotes the most telling of today.
Electric circuitry profoundly involves men with one another. Information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously. As soon as information is acquired, it is very rapidly replaced by still newer information. Our electronically-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 co-exist in a state of active interplay. (63)
The shock of recognition! In an electric information environment, minority groups can no longer be contained – ignored. Too many people know too much about each other. Our new environment compels commitment and participation. We have become irrevocably involved with, and responsible for, each other. (24)
This definitely describes the experience I know with the Internet and Social media sites. McLuhan died in 1980 and I just can’t help but wonder what he would have to say about the state of us and our relation to media today. I don’t think he would be that surprised since The Medium is the Massage seems to be a bit prophetic.