Marshall McLuhan: The World is a Global Village

The emergence of “new media” and “social media” — it has all looked fairly revolutionary, the beginning of something entirely new. But, when you step back and consider it, these innovations mark perhaps just an acceleration of a trend that began long ago — one that Marshall McLuhan, the famed communication theorist, first outlined in the 1960s. The vintage clip above gives you a feel for this, and McLuhan himself appears at around the 2:45 minute mark. As you watch this video, you start to realize how prescient McLuhan was, and how social media is almost the logical fulfillment of the trend he saw emerging. We’ve added this piece to our big collection of 275 Cultural Icons, which features great writers, artists and thinkers speaking in their own words.


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  1. Dick Hartzell says . . . | July 26, 2011 / 7:21 am

    A stunning clip. Despite the theatrical prologue and the oddly childlike interlude on a library set where a TV personality pretends to open the door to the outside world and listen to its sounds, McLuhan and his interlocutor sit and discuss the social impact of the Internet and the Web without ever uttering those names. Of course, they couldn’t — by the looks of this black-and-white video they were conversing about 50 years ago. Remarkable!

  2. mamakhooa seliane says . . . | January 25, 2012 / 5:55 am

    i need this information aim working at library

  3. Ahmet Issever says . . . | February 9, 2012 / 10:15 am

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said before flying to Washington for talks on Syria that Turkey, which once saw Assad as an ally but now wants him out, could no longer stand by and watch. Turkey wanted to host an international meeting to agree ways to end the killing and provide aid, he said.

    “It is not enough being an observer,” he told Reuters, though Russia and China have warned against “interference”.

  4. Mark Friend says . . . | May 29, 2012 / 3:42 am

    I enjoyed the theatrical introduction which frames the Marshall McLuhan interview.

  5. jt says . . . | January 3, 2014 / 12:38 pm

    he’s reading from cue cards. very very weird

  6. Runesmith says . . . | January 19, 2014 / 2:49 am

    His misses were as big as his mistakes, and in some ways more interesting. He believed that text would become obsolete in a “post-literate” world of recorded and transmitted images and sound. As it turns out, the global village is almost all text-based, and likely to remain so.

  7. Runesmith says . . . | January 19, 2014 / 2:50 am

    Meant, of course, “his misses were as big as his hits.” Oh for an edit button.

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