Sibrenne Wagenaar on Chapters 1, 2 and 3 for #UMRG

Sibrenne Wagenaar wrote the following about the first three chapters:


My ‘summary-maker-colleague’ Tom Nickel took you through the three chapters we have been reading. To be honest, I think I have understood half of what McLuhan wrote… but well, in my view the glass is half full…Most helpful in the book, to me, are the concrete examples he gives to explain thoughts and ideas. I notice that, while reading, I have to keep broaden my view because of the concepts he uses and the interpretations belonging to those concepts (e.g. I work a lot with social media and ‘media’ in McLuhans view is so much broader then that!). Here some examples that helped me understand…

The medium is the message

The example of the ‘light’ bulb’ helped me understand this idea: the light bulb is a medium with a social effect: it enables people to create spaces during nighttime. The light bulb ‘an sich’ is a medium without content, but with a huge effect on the society.

Another example is the one of IBM: ‘ when IBM discovered that it was not in the business of making office equipment or business machines, but that it was in the business of processing information, then it began to navigate with clear vision.

Question: when we look at social media as a medium in the way McLuhan looks at it, what would be a concrete example of ‘the medium is the message’ for this?

Media hot and cold

Different media invite different degrees of participation. Film and lectures are hot, television and workshops are cool. I notice that I struggle with ‘hot’ and ‘cool’, because my association with ‘hot’ is intense and active, but in McLuhans view ‘hot’ is high in participation. Cool determines more effort to determine meaning, because they are based on one single sense and/or provide little (visual) information.

Thus a…

  • lecture is hot and makes for less participation than a workshop;
  • movie is hot and makes for less participation than a cartoon;
  • book is hot and makes for less participation than a dialogue.

This focus on ‘hot’ and ‘cool’ helps me to look at online learning (my focus in work) to see whether we stimulate participation enough and what are activities that do more. Or less, sometimes!

Question: when you use this ‘hot and cool’ perspective to look at your personal learning approach, what does that tell you?



3 thoughts on “Sibrenne Wagenaar on Chapters 1, 2 and 3 for #UMRG

  1. Pingback: Discussing #UMRG Chapters 1, 2 and 3 | Understanding Media

  2. Regarding the first question you posted, I think when SMedia is viewed solely for things like likes, friends, followers, retweets, reposts, favorites, etc – when these types of stats come to the forefront of any interaction, then we see the medium being the message. The content is put aside, and even judged worthy or not based on how some of these statistical categories stack up. SMedia can even become not about human interaction, and more just about accumulating some sort of online currency or reputation.

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