The impact of Marshall McLuhan's groundbreaking insights into communication technology and its effect on society and the individual continues to be a heavily discussed topic among media and culture academics. He wrote extensively on several ideas and theories, expressed in several publications throughout his academic lifetime. The effects of his writing on media and cultural studies are inexhaustible, and his concepts regarding communication technology are continually being explored and debated. McLuhan's contributions to media studies focus on how media affects and modifies society, notably the ways in which it does so seemingly inconspicuously. .
Born Herbert Marshall McLuhan on July 21, 1911 in Edmonton, Alberta, McLuhan entered the University of Manitoba in 1928 and left in 1935 with his MA. He then studied literature at Cambridge University and earned his PhD in 1942. He taught at the University of Toronto, and in 1963, he became the first director of the Center for Culture and Technology, a center created specifically for McLuhan and his work. He died on New Years Eve in 1980. (McLuhan.ca) Following his death, McLuhan was dismissed as a unique academic whose ideas were not much more than eccentric and outdated. However, as the world rapidly progresses in an era of communication technologies, McLuhan's theories are proving to be useful and relevant in the 21st century. (Wolf 1).
One of McLuhan's primary ideas is the medium is the message', which argues that it is important to examine the medium which is carrying the message, as it is this medium that is actually affecting society. The message itself becomes devalued in comparison to the method used to express it, because it is that method which defines societal communication. McLuhan insists that the ""message- of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs."" (McLuhan 8) McLuhan finds importance in how the medium operates within society, and was one of the first theorists to look at communication in such a way.