The Medium Is The Message

Through the introduction of new technologies and the emergence of digital media, audiences are now able to actively participate (like, comment, subscribe, follow) in current events. This new form of participation allows new messages to be constantly created. We, as a society, tend to focus on the emergence of new social media sites, rather than the process of creation. We almost take the situation for granted as we already have so many sites to choose from. From Instagram all the way to YouTube, we struggle to predict what will come next. We are constantly being introduced to a whole new dimension of mediums, unlike individuals of the past who were restricted solely to mediums such as newspapers, television and radio.

Man of the hour Marshall McLuhan argues that the importance is not in what is being communicated, but in the how. This can be identified in comparison to television and Youtube. Why wait around a full week to watch the latest episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians when there are a multitude of vlogs awaiting you on the wondrous site that is YouTube? The ability to instantly watch hours upon hours of these videos, along with the fact that you can directly communicate with the content creators, is what sets Youtube apart from standard television. Originally created as a video sharing site, YouTube has exploded into one of the most influential social media sites of our generation. This, explained by Mark Federman, is what we now know as an unintended consequence.

A McLuhan message always tells us to look beyond the obvious and seek the non- obvious changes or effects that are enabled, enhanced, accelerated or extended by the new thing. – Mark Federman

Reference:

Federman, M (2004) What Is The Meaning Of The Medium Is The Message? (http://individual.utoronto.ca/markfederman/MeaningTheMediumistheMessage.pdf)

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2 thoughts on “The Medium Is The Message

  1. This was an interesting read Jess. I like how you mention that we focus more on the emergence of new social media sites, rather than the process of creation. What are your thoughts of McLuhan’s phrase “the medium is the message”? Do you agree?

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