Google Doodle has never missed honouring any legendary figure and thus today, that is on 21st July 2017, it is honouring Marshall McLuhan on his 106th birthday. Celebrating his birthday through Google Doodle seems most appropriate though. Do you know why? Because Marshall McLuhan is professor, philosopher and a media sage who predicted internet 30 years before its invention. Not only this, the man also predicted the impact of world wide web on the lives of people. Apart from this, he also coined the term ‘the medium is the message’ and ‘global village’. On his birthday, let’s learn why Google is celebrating the birthday of this very prominent figure.
Marshall McLuhan was born in Canada in 1911 and studied at University of Manitoba and University of Cambridge before starting his lectureship at University of Toronto. He gained popularity in the 1960’s for his work as a media theorist. His term ‘global village’ is a precursor vision of internet. McLuhan had a conflicted relationship with religion and god. He turned to literature to gratify his soul’s hunger for truth and beauty. He referred to this stage as agnosticism.
His theories minted controversies in academic circles throughout the 1970’s and even after his demise in 1980. In 1989, the internet saw the dawn and McLuhan was looked upon with the keen interest.
How did he Marshall McLuhan predict the internet?
His paramount theory was the idea that human history can be segregated into four eras, viz, the acoustic age, the literary age, the print age and the electronic age. He summarized this concept in a 1962 book called ‘The Gutenberg Galaxy’ which was released when television’s popularity gained momentum.
He predicted that world is ready to enter the fourth age, which is electronic age. Entire community of people would be brought under the same umbrella of technology by this age.
He termed it as the ‘global village’, which signified that the entire world would be able to receive the same information through technology. This term was later conceived to be ‘the internet’.
In ‘Understanding Media’, which was his follow-up book, he explained the theory to demonstrate the means of communication rather the information itself would be the groundbreaking fact of the coming electronic age.
McLuhan made many appearances on TV to explain his theory why ‘the medium is message’. In the 20th century, he became the most popular English teacher.
McLuhan’s predictions created a stir in the United States with high profile magazines and author protesting against him. Tom Wolfe wrote an article around him titled ‘What if he is right?’ which was published in New York Magazine.
In September 1979, he suffered a stroke which took a toll on his ability to speak. He never got out completely out of it and died in his sleep on December 31st, 1980.
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