Applying McLuhan’s Tetrad to the smartphone

The smartphone

McLuhan’s tetrad serves as a framework for analysis, consisting of a set of four effects to examine media in their historical context and present environment as well as the characteristics and attributes of the medium itself.

SOURCE: Glocality


Marshall McLuhan (1911 – 1980) was a Canadian philosopher and a revolutionary thinker, who fundamentally changed perceptions of media, communications, and technology. He recognised the technological and medial developments of the twentieth century as revolutions, comparable to the invention of the print press in the fifteenth century.

McLuhan is famous for aphorisms like “the medium is the message” or “the medium is the massage”, as well as for coining the term “the global village”, and advancing the ideas of “hot and cold media” and “media as extensions of man”. The expression “the medium is the message” is based on McLuhan’s idea that not the content of a medium, but its characteristics have an effect on the society in which it is active.

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