Medium is the Message

I think McLuhan brings up a very interesting point that is all too often overlooked. It is incredible how much different types of media — TV, radio — effect us regardless of their content. How many people do you know keep the TV on in their house even when they’re not watching it or maybe even when they’re not there? We are so used to constant stimulus that silence seems intolerable. McLuhan’s idea seems most apparent to me in TV, and even more so in the internet. We as a society have become so reliant on TV and internet for entertainment, interaction and even just comfort. Both of these media give us a false sense of connection with the outside world. The internet delivers this on some level, but it is still scary to think of virtual communication taking over completely.

The idea of media embedded within media makes all of this even more scary. Not only are we as a society controlled by these electronic devices, but we are receiving messages from them which affect us as well. Thinking about the content of songs, websites and TV shows only adds another level to the decline of our society.

However, we should view this objectively. What we see as a diminishing of human interaction may, and most definitely has already, be opening up new doors for societal expansion and evolution. McLuhan explains DeTocqueville’s disapproval of typography and print in America in the 18th century. Today, we certainly would never see the development of printed language as detrimental to our society. So, although, the idea of these media growing in importance in our society today seems frightening now, we may one day be eternally grateful. Change is always scary, but inevitably necessary.


2 Responses to “Medium is the Message”

  1. christinatx Says:

    I would definitely have to agree with you. Our society today has become a place in need of constant stimulation. One can not avoid it either. You mentioned tv and radio, and I would also have to mention that with my recent move to the city messages are plastered everywhere. Media’s messages are not limited. From the old school advertising on billboards in the subway stations to the flashing signs in Times Square; media is always sending out a message.

  2. I didn’t interpret this message from Mcluhan about how much media effects us regardless of the content at first but I do agree with the idea. I leave my tv on all the time even when I am out of the house. One medium is not always enough for me. As I blog now and surf the web I am sitting in front of my TV watching Monday Night Football while answering the occasional text or email on my blackberry. When I go to bed I will put the timer on my TV so that I fall asleep first before I shut off my constant stimulus of messages. And some nights I am even woken up up by the buzzing of my blackberry on the floor at 3 am when a donation request text comes in from Barack

    It looks like I am controlled by these devices. However I don’t think I can be that upset with the situation. I use websites to easily pay bills, purchase tickets, book trips, gamble, navigate through unknown destinations and receive up to the minute information on anything I desire. I can chat with somebody on the other side of the globe with the click of a button for free either through text or video so I am not worried about the death of communication or society. These new mediums enhance communication and effect it perhaps to the point where we don’t realize just yet the change in scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs.

    It is my responsibility to sift through the noise and find my signal even though most media outlets will make that search difficult. Hopefully new media, even though it may interrupt my sleep at times will assist me in my search.

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