Thursday, May 06, 2010

Marshall McLuhan on the Global Village

In the days before Twitter, email, Facebook, MySpace, texting, blogging, Google, the Internet... Marshall McLuhan describes the new world "created by instant electronic information"---a "global village".
"Today, the instantaneous world of electric information media involves all of us, all at once. Ours is a brand new world of all-at-onceness. Time, in a sense, has ceased and space has vanished. Like primitives, we now live in a global village of our own making, a simultaneous happening. The global village is not created by the motor car or even by the airplane. It is created by instant electronic information movement. The global village is at once as wide as the planet and as small as the little town where everybody is maliciously engaged in poking his nose into everybody else’s business. The global village is a world in which you don’t necessarily have harmony; you have extreme concern with every else’s business and much involvement in everybody else’s life. It’s a sort of Ann Landers column written larger. And it doesn’t necessarily mean harmony and peace and quiet, but it does mean huge involvement in everybody else’s affairs. And so, the global village is as big as a planet and as small as the village post office.

"We now share too much about each other to be strangers to each other. For example, in the age of the information explosion, all the walls go out between age-groups, between family groups, national groups, between economies. The walls all go out. People suddenly have to adjust themselves to this new proximity, this new interrelationship, and merely to tell them that this has happened isn’t very helpful. What they need to know is, if it is happening, what does it mean to me?"
“McLuhan on McLuhanism,” WNDT Educational Broadcasting Network, 1966

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