Updated: Apr 21, 2022
In McLuhan's time, media such as radio, TV, newspapers and cinema were technology players and the essential medium. But today's Internet is not just another new, electronic medium, as McLuhan would have classified it. It is much, much more.
What would McLuhan have said about Metaverse?
In 1964, communications scholar Marshall McLuhan made the revolutionary statement in his classic book Understanding Media that the medium, rather than the content it conveys, should be the focus. By this he meant that the medium, such as radio or television, influences society much more than the content, and the book was considered a groundbreaking study in media theory at the time. Based on these considerations, McLuhan also created the well-known saying "The medium is the message" - and not the content.
Today, after technology has become a commodity and the Internet has become ubiquitous in our lives, we are virtually all united in the world as in a global village. Now, distances no longer matter, and we hear about events thousands of miles away as if they just happened down our street. Modern technology has brought us together and the "global village," another popular expression by McLuhan, has become a reality.
But now comes the but: in McLuhan's day, media such as radio, television, newspapers and cinema were king.They were the essential, vital technology players and more important than content. But today's Internet (including social media) is not, in my view, a new, electronic medium, as McLuhan would have classified it. It is much more: A system and organism that replaces communication with consensual behavior and instant engagement, and is thus able to organize and optimize new life. The Internet and social media have revolutionized McLuhan's postulate. It should now be called "The medium is the message is the content is the engagement".
Or in short: "Content and (instant) engagement are king" (because customers hate waiting).
Today, recipients themselves become senders and they communicate not only bilaterally. They even communicate dynamically, even among themselves. So Internet is more than just a new medium. It has become a hub and a platform (like a real "global village") where users themselves become active instead of just passively receiving a message. Strangers find each other and create new ideas together.
Unfortunately, however, many marketeers and communications specialists still don't understand this difference. They are still working out concepts and solutions in the way we used media in the days of Marshall McLuhan: from sender to receiver. Just using a more modern medium.
Content that drives engagement starts with a strong content marketing strategy. And please note: Content is no longer just a simple distribution of knowledge.
One more point: In many ways, traditional e-commerce solutions are an anomaly. We've created the loneliness of the remote shopper. We disconnected the social aspect of selling and buying and focused only on the transactional and commercial aspects. The online catalog experience created a solitary shopping activity, perhaps augmented by a few reviews, some star ratings, and a recommendation engine ("people who bought X bought Y"). But there was no real immediate peer feedback, no discussion.... no social aspect of the shopping and buying cycle.
This must and will be solved differently in the future. Especially if we create virtual sales spaces on the Internet, I'm thinking of Facebook and Metaverse, which can be designed to be more exciting than reality. In such a virtual space, customer engagement can be made much more intense and spontaneous. In such an artificial whole, the ego and the subjective world will be able to permanently reconceptualize itself.
BTW: At the beginning of this article is the question "What would McLuhan have said about Metaverse"? I think he would say: "Mark, keep dreaming! Ha ha, gotcha. Just kidding. This sounds promissing and if the concept can be actualized, the Metaverse will be as transformative to society and industry as the mobile phone."
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