McLuhan's Tetrads - part of research for MA in Applied Theology

Marshall McLuhan is famous for the idea that "The medium is the message", the concept that the medium of communication is more powerful, significant, and culturally transformative than its content.

He would argue that the existence of television, for example, has changed society much more than the programmes that are shown on television.

As a tool for considering the characteristics of a communications medium, he developed a 'tetrad', four effects that a medium will demonstrate;

Enhancement (what does it magnify -
Mobile phones magnify accessibility & interpersonal communication)

Obsolescence (what does it replace -
Mobile phones replace the phonebox but also privacy and anonymity)

Retrieval (what does it bring back that was lost in the previous medium -
Mobile phones retrieve speaking & listening (from letters & the telegraph), tribal cultures and cameras)

Reversal (How does the medium 'flip', when pushed to extremes, often the exact opposite purpose it was created for -
Mobile phones have flipped from audio / oral devices to text messaging devices, they have also flipped from making us easily accessible to being increasingly 'on call')

    So, my 5(½) questions...

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    If you use twitter, can I encourage you to answer two more?

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