Electronic Global Village

Graphic: the global village
The world is growing closer together as a global village.

Electronic Global Village

Global communication in realtime

The global village is no longer science fiction (…), it has become fibreglass reality.

Norbert Bolz, Am Ende der Gutenberg-Galaxis, 1993

In his books The Gutenberg Galaxy, which was first published in 1962, Marshall McLuhan formulated his famous prediction that the world would become a global village as a result of increasing intercontinental networking. This process of more intense communicative exchanges led him to expect that society would turn away from the individualistic book culture of the modern era. Instead of forming an opinion of matters by reading individually, the individual in the networked world would become part of a collective identity along the lines of a pre-modern tribal culture. In light of the risks related to this – for example, totalitarian control – the media theorist called for the opportunities presented by new media to be handled responsibly.

In his discussion of McLuhan’s theories, Norbert Bolz, a media theorist from Berlin, re-examined the term of the electronic global village. In his opinion, this concept is no longer utopian, but has become reality. Characteristic evidence of this reality are the globalised economy, a tendency towards purchasing immaterial products and a decentralised organisational culture. McLuhan’s thesis has also been further developed and empirically researched by philosophers such as Manuel Castell and Paul Virilio and social psychologists such as Stanley Milgram (Small World Phenomenon)  from 1967.