Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian sociologist and communications theorist. He is known for coining expressions such as “the medium is the message,” and “global village.” Herbert Marshall McLuhan was born in Edmonton on July 21, 1911. He studied Literature at Cambridge University in Britain. Back in Canada, McLuhan became director of The University of Toronto’s Centre for Culture and Technology. McLuhan claimed that methods of communication had a decisive influence on society and the culture where they operated. In 1951, he published The Mechanical Bride. The book examined the effects of advertising and its power to manipulate collective awareness. In The Gutenberg Galaxy: the Making of Typographic Man, published in 1962, McLuhan underlined how the introduction of movable type printing was a landmark in the transition from an oral culture to a written one. In his most famous work of 1964, Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man, McLuhan claimed that media should be analyzed for content as well as how they organize information. Media does not merely transmit information, it alters information. The medium is the message as a concept came from this book. It implies the way messages are communicated changes the environment and how lives and relates to others. Oral communication encourages social relations, the written word and TV foster individualism.
McLuhan divided media into two categories. Cool media, such as gestures or words, transmit incomplete messages. The receiver needs extra information to be able to fully understand the message. Hot media on the other hand, like movies and TV, carry large amounts of simultaneous information that fills up our minds, which receive the messages passively. According to McLuhan, media's power to manipulate is very strong in present-day society. Television, above all, shapes the lifestyles and way of thinking of the people who watch it. Because it does not require interaction, TV has a reassuring, almost narcotic effect. Through a constant flow of news transmitted by media, people on different continents behave like one enormous tribe or global village. Marshall McLuhan died in Toronto on December 31, 1980 after suffering a stroke that left him unable to speak. Marshall remains an often-quoted cult figure and reference point for discussions on media.