The medium is the message, but what does that mean?
As far as the modern day communications-world is concerned, Marshall McLuhan is the equivalent of Mohammad Ali to boxing, Big Bird to Sesame Street and Picasso to Visual Art. In reference to communication, McLuhan stated that “the personal and social consequences of any medium—that is, of any extension of our- selves—result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.” (http://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/mcluhan.mediummessage.pdf)
Does that make sense to you? No? Me either…
Okay I lied, it makes a fraction of sense when I really think about it. However the (hypothetic) brick wall I continue to hit so far…every time I think I understand, I find something which indicates that I do not actually understand and that I am in fact very, very wrong.
I’ll have a crack at it though…
So, as far as I currently understand (Disclaimer: this is not a learning resource) McLuhan’s theory that the ‘Medium is the Message’ refers to the way the medium by which a message is sent, influences the way the recipient of the message interprets that message. This acknowledges the fact that the medium by which a message is sent holds it’s own message. For example, a text message can be misinterpreted by simply being read. I.e. a message may be interpreted differently when in a verbal context, rather than non-verbal.
You can relate, trust me…
Have you ever received a text when someone replies “ok” and your first thought is “OK?! WHY ARE THEY MAD WITH ME??” so then you call the sender and it turns out that they are perfectly fine?? I know I sure have…
(Okay, maybe that’s just me. But you get the idea)
This miscommunication is purely due to the way that the text message has been read by the recipient, as a result of the medium. This miscommunication would most likely have not occurred if the communication took place over telephone or in person, as the message would have been converted through a verbal medium, hence decreasing the opportunity for miscommunication.
This past week, Marshall McLuhen has not been my friend, but maybe I’m warming up to him slightly.
PLEASE if I’ve gotten the meaning of ‘The Medium is the Message’ wrong again, COMMENT below and I’ll attempt not to cry.
Until next week, that’s this week Pinned.
Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man by Marshall McLuhan ©1964 (http://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/mcluhan.mediummessage.pdf)