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  • Writer's pictureClaire Sersun

We Are How We Consume

Marshall McLuhan's theory of Technological Determinism reveals how communication tools and technology change over the years and impact and change social organization.

Strengths of this theory:


McLuhan's theories overlap times in history such as print with modernism and the technological paradigm with post-modernism. It is a good explanation on why societal organization changes overtime.


The Global Village is explained which even though talked about before the age of online, reflects society now. People are actively connecting all around the world. Just look at the response during the Covid-19 lockdown. There was an entire Facebook group dedicated to photos of peoples' views outside their window. Another instance is how fast inspiring or funny videos from all over traveled. People were able to get inspiration and feel connected to the world without leaving home. This Global Village can also be seen with virtual friends. People can intimately connect online without having to meet them face to face.

how society consumes effects the social structures





Just look at Trump and the 2016 election. Trumps presence on Twitter and instantaneous reactions helped make him a bigger presence in the US leading him to win the 2016 Precedential Election.














Another example of this is Elyse Myers. She is aa famous TikToker and has been invited as a VIP to special events because she has a huge influence in society.











Limitations of this theory:


What we consume defines our perspectives. It is not soley how we communicate that drives how we view the world. Just look at TikTok: The algorithm feeds you more of what would keep you on the app and scrolling, it fosters addiction. To do this, it must feed you more of what reaffirms your world view. It takes even more work to get out of the cycle and feed your brain opposing ideas, ideologies, and world views. This is similar to hanging out with the same group of friends who share your world view and geological location. It takes work to go outside of your comfort zone and seek new perspectives.


While the tribal paradigm relied on chronological order in receiving, it relied on your mind and others to store that information. The mind does not store information chronologically, its a safe that constantly reorders, reforms, and abandons ideas, stories, and memories. While the print era did foster linear thinking it did not change how we processed information. Humans had ways of recording and returning to information before this era in the form of hieroglyphs, art, and story keepers.


Lastly, because every form of technology is still in use today, how does the layering of McLuhan's paradigms effect society? Did each paradigm leave the other behind? How would it if progress is built on one another?



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