Understanding Media / Marshall McLuhan : Part 2

Marshall McLuhan was one of the foremost writers about media in the 20th Century.  He created “the media is the message”.  Recently, I have been rereading Understanding Media.  The book is packed full of ideas.  Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of these ideas.

Continuing the commentary  from the editor’s introduction by W. Terrance Gordon.  Gordon notes that… McLuahn teaches that a new medium typically does not displace or replace another as much as it complicates its operation.

When it comes to a marketing campaign, this is very powerful. There are some basics to consider.  To make a purchase, the customer needs a problem solved.  The purchase process is one of evaluating the options and finding answers to questions.   Once the customer is sufficiently convinced your product will solve his problem he will purchase.  Consequently, your creation of content is the creation of a series of answers to questions.

So, think of your brochure or other content as a series of answers to questions.  In each medium, the questions may be represented differently based upon the needs of that medium.  But, the content can remain basically the same.

McLuhan divides medium into what he calls “Hot” and “Cool”.  Hot media gives a lot of information and requires little of the user, where as Cool media provides less information a, making the user to fill in the information.   When looking at media in the 1950’s McLuhan characterized the media world as follows.

Cool…………………………………………………..Hot

Telephone                                                    Radio

Speech                                                            Print

Cartoons                                                Photographs

Television                                                    Movies

Seminar                                                         Lecture

For my purposes I would propose

Web 2.0                                                             Web 1.0

So, for business owners, your first website was HOT, as you move forward into the world of Web 2.0, you will move to a COOL environment.

In a Hot environment, you provide the content.  In the Cool environment, you’ll manage a dialogue; understanding the customer will provide part of the discussion.  In Hot, you managed the exploration process through a list of questions and answers.  In Cool, you provide the answers; the customer provides the questions; and the process of answering them.

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