Popular Posts

Tuesday, July 17

Mass Man and the Electric Environment

Was chatting online with a friend about social media in the morning. At night caught up with Neil Postman's book - Disappearance of Childhood...

Let me share this excerpt pp 69-70 from the book...

It is alleged that upon being told that through the telegraph a man in Maine, could instantly send a message to a man in Texas, Thoreau asked, "But what do they have to say to each other?" :-)

In asking this question, to which no serious attention was paid, Thoreau was directing attention to the psychological and social meaning of the telegraph, and in particular to its capacity to change the character of information - from the personal and regional to the impersonal and global.

A hundred and twenty years later Marshall McLuhan tried to address the issue Thoreau raised. He wrote:

When man lives in an electric environment, his nature is transformed and his private identity is merged with the corporate whole. He becomes "Mass Man." Mass Man is a phenomenon of electric speed, not of physical quantity. Mass man was first noticed as a phenomenon in the age of radio, but he had come into existence, unnoticed, with the electric telegraph.

So, what have we become now? As many of us seamlessly connect to a global community, conversation, brain...As we think in bytes, live under the tyranny of 'perpetual immediacy' and twitter 24 X 7 X 365!!

(Picture sourced from Gettyimages!)

No comments: