Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hugh MacLeod, Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Message

My sister suggested a book to me, Hugh MacLeod's, Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity. Being part of the blogging world you might recognize Hugh from his blog gapingvoid.com. His other claim to fame is the drawing of cartoons on the back of business cards. I have posted a book review on my website, www.carpebiblio.com. What I wish to discuss is the organization of his book and website design.

From the organization of his book, I would say that MacLeod could be a student of Marshall McLuhan’s – The Medium is the Message. In that the meaning conveyed on the page is so much more than the text alone. MacLeod has taken the dynamic material from his website blog and transferred it to a static medium, the book page. In the process though he did not loose the message, but instead used his drawings and spacing to maintain the meaning.

In early days of web design, hypertexting between and within a page added an extra dimension to the text that enhanced the message. But it soon became obvious to everyone that while hypertexting and linking enhanced the message, the web addresses changed quickly creating voids in the message. Links also pulled people away from the main site, which was bad for generating advertising revenue. In fact, my current employer frowns on links in the text altogether.

Anyhow, reading MacLeod's book made me think of McLuhan's famous line, "The medium is the message," and I think about how much the web has changed since the early days of web design. While the web seems to be using less hypertext, a tremendous number of new tools are on the scene and being utilized. Web builders now need to consider using podcasts, wikis, knowledge clouds, widgets, YouTube, Facebook, and Myspace to enhance their clients entertainment and knowledge enhancement, and of course to generate revenue from sales and advertising.


1 comment:

Heresiarch said...

I rescued from cassette this talk that Marshall McLuhan gave at Johns Hopkins University in the mid 1970s. I have not found an audio file of this talk anywhere online. So far as I know it's an original contribution to the archive of McLuhan audio. Enjoy. Rare McLuhan Audio