Medium is the Message

“The Medium is the Message” is a term that McLuhan helped formulate, which I found excitingly interesting. Breaking it down, I believe that McLuhan was trying to say exactly what he said, “the medium is the message”. Whatever the medium may be, a television show, a piece of art work, or a dress, it has a message. That message isn’t necessarily what the viewer or audience takes away from it but the message the individual who formed the medium was trying to display.

Everyday we are stimulated in our environment without even realizing it at times. Just by walking down the streets of NYC there are mediums trying to relay messages to us such as movie ads, basically saying “come watch the movie.” A good example is the gossip girl ads. The ads do not saying Gossip Girls it says OMFG. OMFG has become a staple for the show because everyone who sees it now knows that OMFG means Gossip Girls. In our creative technological world we are constantly being thrown information. One can say we are on constant overload without even realizing it and putting information in our brains without even processing it. Sometimes processing the information later when someone mentions it in a conversation. That is what happened to me with OMFG. I didn’t know what it meant when I saw the ad on the street. When I was with my friend they mentioned Gossip Girls and OMFG. I had remembered seeing OMFG, so I put two and two together. That was a moment for me because I really realized that I was storing messages in my brain without even realizing it.

McLuhan’s text really made me begin to think of a book I read called Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It takes place in the future where technology has become so powerful that it governed the society. In other words technology controlled the society. The interesting thing was that the technology that controlled the society was created by society themselves. This made me think of what McLuhan was saying when he stated, “Apple pie is in itself neither good nor bad; it is the way that it is used that determines its value.” In Brave New World the technology or “medium” they created was neither good nor bad but it was how they used it, which shed bad “messages”.

I believe that we individuals of society have to educate ourselves and really analyze what is given to us. For example a film is form of media, what the film shows such as its lesson, morality or ethics is media as well. The media is expressed through other forms of media to relay the message. This is how we should interpret the idea that media can be embedded within other media.

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2 Responses to “Medium is the Message”

  1. I really liked your observation on McLuhan’s theory and simple explanation and examples that you have provided. Your Gossip Girl OMFG example in particular makes it very easy for reader to understand the capacity of media to affect and influence human thinking.

  2. Your opinion on McLuhan is fantastically on point. I especially like your use to A Brave New World as comparison. I remember that book, thinking it was scary as well as very possible.

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