Strengths and Weaknesses of McLuhan’s Ideas
Marshall McLuhan discussed the idea of Technological Determinism which basically states that technology shapes us versus people determining how technology is used. He suggests that technologies of mass media ultimately changes a person’s social behavior and structures society’s cultural values. With this idea in place, it comes with both strong points and limitations.
- McLuhan states that “We shape our tools and they in turn shape us.” We can see this idea played out through the use of social media. The way we consume our social media in turn shapes us. We can see this through the algorithm of social media sites. The type of media we consume is perfectly curated towards us and in turn shapes us.
- McLuhan discusses how “all technology is communication.” This tells us that technology allows us to reach further into society and communicate better. Technology is always evolving and changing thus meaning that our form of communication changes as well, and the way we choose to use these technological tools will determine who we are as a society.
- This theory can grow with the times. Being that technology is only getting more prominent and used in today’s world, McLuhan’s theory will always stay relevant. An exmaple would be the use of social media. When this theory came about, social media did not exist. But today, social media is used more than ever and this theory still applies to our world today.
- One major limitation is that technology is not forced on anyone. It is someone’s choice to have a technology tool. Although technology is always changing and evolving, there are people who simply do not have the financial means to keep up with the changes. So therefore, benefiting from the uses of technology is all based on the human themself.
- Technology is not always as easy as it seems. It does have its faults and sometimes does not work as expected. This causes a love hate relationship between users. Many people are very technologically dependent, while others choose to live without it.
- Technology itself is socially determined. The effects of any given technology depend mainly on how it was originally implemented. This evidently leads to technology being socially determined by others.
McLuhan’s ideas of the Technological Determinism Theory is still relevant in the world today and can applied to current ideas of technology.