Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage has been one of my favorite readings in this class. The book in itself is a revolutionary art form and has been incredibly thought provoking. I thought an interesting theme within the book was the idea of giving up something when using media. McLuhan starts the book by talking about how today’s youth are a part of an electronic age and in that process give into an era of anxiety. Youth are constantly giving up internal peace for the need to constantly check their phones, check their messages, etc. Later on McLuhan states, “the older, traditional ideas of private, isolated thoughts and actions – the patterns of mechanistic technologies are threatened by new methods of instantaneous electric information,” (12). As people are using new media, they are giving up their privacy in order to feel the interconnectedness that comes with social media. As people want the new iPhone they give their fingerprints to Apple, who has more money and power than the United States government. As people participate in utilizing Facebook, they give up the right to their photos and information. Facebook users also give Facebook the right to sell their information to companies. As people use Google hangout, Google sites, Google search, they are allowing Google to search and track their information and sell it as Google sees fit. Believe it or not concepts of giving up something for new technology is not necessarily a new concept. Early philosophers, such as Aristotle were against the transition to writing because he thought that writing was an incredibly dangerous form of technology. Before writing, people would just memorize their interactions with people and information they wanted to remember. People gave up their ability to remember for more modern technology and Aristotle feared this would decrease intelligence.
In the modern age when technology and media are a huge part of our culture, McLuhan’s words continue to be true. What will be the cost of this usage in twenty years?