What Would McLuhan Think About the iPhone?

August 7, 2010 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

iphone4I’ll admit I’ve never fully appreciated Marshall McLuhan’sfamous observation that the medium is the message.

But, as I become familiar with the process of typing on my new iPhone 4 I’ve had something of a Eureka moment. As a BlackBerry convert I’m finding typing on the iPhone with man hands is laborious. If my fingers were any fatter I’d be inclined to quit typing on it altogether. I now realize why so many of my friends and business associates who use these devices send messages that are generally short and often appear to be curt. The iPhone medium acts on the message in a highly restrictive way. The device’s poor typing interface distorts the message as it motivates brevity often at the expense of clarity and optional pleasantries. Hence, the medium is the message.

It took a dramatic change in a personal medium to finally fully appreciate McLuhan’s 60s era insight. I could say more on the subject, but typing on this iPhone is a pain in the ass.

Sent from my iPhone

Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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