Marshall McLuhan was a philosopher who concentrated mostly on theories of communication. He also predicted a system like the Internet almost 30 years before its release. His theories were popular in the 1960s, but his popularity decreased over the years. By the time the Internet came out, interest in his philosophies were renewed.
One of his most popular theories was that the medium is the message. What McLuhan meant was that it wasn’t only the content that mattered, but the medium through which the message was delivered. He thought that the medium was just as important as the message it was trying to convey. An example of this, he figured, was electricity. He said that light and electricity are often overlooked as a message or form of media unless either one spells out a message in words.
Another one of his theories was that media can be hot or cold. What he meant was that forms of media that are hot are those that give all of the information, whereas those that are cold force the audience or user to be able to fill in the cracks. For example, speech, he thought, would be considered a cold or low form of media because the listener has to be able to fill in the cracks of information. He thought that a photograph, though, was hot visually because it is filled with all of the data it can possibly provide.
The iPhone would be considered, according to McLuhan, a cold form of media, since the user has to fill in much of the information in order for it to be useful. However, in the case of the iPhone, the medium itself would definitely be considered the message as well, since it is a form of technology. Besides what the user can make it do, the phone itself sends the message of communication loud and clear.
To me, it says, “I’m here to take over your life. I might make it easier. I might give you new problems. Either way, you’re stuck with me now.”