Marshall McLuhan(1911-1980) was a world renown Canadian scholar. He was the Director of The Center for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto. McLuhan is known as "the high priest of pop culture" and "father of the electronic age" whose work is considered a cornerstone in the study of media theory.His influencial books include Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964), and The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (with Quentin Fiore, 1967). McLuhan is most notorious for his involvement in discourse concerning media and its role in society. He coined the popular phrase "the medium is the message." One of the pillars of McLuhan's theoretical findings was his tetrad of media effects which provided a framework for analyzing the effects on society of any given medium.
Some of his innovative ideas include " hot vs.cool media," "the medium is the message," and "the global village."
McLuhan argued that the creation of the printing press lead into the industrial revolution and that it was through the discovery of print media that the world became fragmented and humans became alienated from one another. He believed that the digital age through electronic media was a return to a more universal form of communication and collective interaction between people. He also espoused a certain brand of technological determinism in his belief in the importance of media as technologies in and of themselves, without regard to media content or context.
McLuhan was a favorite go-to for media theory, practically a household name, in the '60's and '70's and his theories are still hot topics of debate today. He lives on in popular culture as a quasi-cult figure through his film cameos and influential texts. Without Marshall McLuhan, the notion of a meta-media object may never have occured.
"The Medium is the Message"encompasses the idea that media and not their content should be the focus of media studies, since media format changes responses and the information it conveys. McLuhan argued that different media require the use of different senses and also different levels of engagement.