Dr Herbert Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) coined some phrases in the 1950s and '60s that became clichés in the 1980s and 90s. These prophetic axioms serve as tools that prove helpful to our understanding of the information age. As Lewis Lapham wrote, in his introduction to the 1994 reprint of Understanding Media, "Much of what McLuhan had to say makes a good deal more sense in 1994 than it did in 1964."2
McLuhan's definition of media is broad. It includes any technology whatever that creates extensions of the human body and senses, from clothing to the computer.3 And a vital point is that societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media with which people communicate (ground) than by the content of the communication (figure).