The Medium is the Message

The content we consume is important, but does the way in which it’s delivered hold just as much value?  That’s the main idea behind McLuhan’s concept that “The medium is the message”.

Before the invention of the internet, messages were received in a quite linear.  Jason Gross used the example of a film in that you watch a film and experience the same pre-set series of events (beginning, middle and end).  You view the characters develop, and the story works towards a conclusion, but regardless of the message the structure will always be the same because it is determined by the medium.

Although, if you were to take the same message and move it to a non-linear form such as a website, the experience is changed.  All facets of the movies story can be broken up into many webpages, in this way characters and plot points can be viewed in any order.  The audience can now define how the content is received, and now has an active role in the medium rather than the passive role that is presented with a film.

While I understand McLuhan’s view that the medium requires attention, I don’t feel that it should over shadow the actual message.  The fact that a painting was done using oil on canvas rather than pencil on paper, isn’t as important as what the actual artwork portrays.

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One thought on “The Medium is the Message

  1. I really like this post, especially the opening rhetorical question! It actually got me thinking about it, as I still don’t fully understand the concept of ‘the medium is the message’ and all it stands for. Actually, this post as a whole helped me to understand what it is exactly! Your example is a really good one to understand! All round great post!

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