Tetrad omedia effect- Marshall McLuhan

Technologies extend natural human abilities. These technology that effect on society has changed how’s humans thinking, manners and senses. McLuhan designed the tetrad to provide a scientific basis for media observations. The tetrad diagram, which he poses as questions on which to reflect in our culture,

  1. What does the technology or medium enhance ?
  2. What does the technology or medium obsolete?
  3. What does the technology or medium recover that was previously lost?
  4. What does the technology or medium effect when pushed to an extreme?

The formulation of the following four laws of media according to the tetrad diagram:


McLuhan summarized his thought about media in a concise tetrad of media effect. What I understand is, the four laws or tetrad help to describe the feature of each medium or technology. For example, social sites alike blog as the medium.

The first law according to Marshall McLuhan’s Law of media is about what social media allow us to do. What does the blog enhance?

  • Amplify communication and collaboration because everyone can voice their opinion and share their thought on a certain article.
  • Allow access content
  • Open forum for writer’s ideas
  • No time and space limitation
  • Amplify image and audio
  • Construction of an online community
  • Ability to stay connected with various devices and web page

Next, old condition is displaced thereby the second among the four laws is what does it make obsolete?

  • Paper organizing tool to do post its instead of handwriting
  • Need for official publication
  • One of social media to spread ideas in cyberspace
  • Has made obsolete in today’s society is privacy, the lack of privacy in people live especially celebrity has been exposed all the time and being treated as gossip subject matter

The third law is that social media will retrieve some aspects of human society that has been pushed aside or medium from the past. What does the blog can be retrieves?

  • Oral tradition by story-telling.
  • Blogging helps social media retrieve the sense of authenticity. Because people use their own word to tell about their story life and sharing their experience.

The fourth law represents what happens when medium is pushed to its limit. What does blog reverse into if pushed to extremes?

  • Will be one part of other social sites such as Tumblr, Facebook used for sharing of photos, video live, chit-chatting. It is a way that people can communicate with different social community.

In sum, the Law of media developed by McLuhan to be used as a tool to examine the form of effects that different mediums and technologies produce.



Laws of media – The four effects: A McLuhan contribution to social epistemology, Gregory Sandstrom




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