The Medium Changes the Message

“The medium is the message.”- quoted from Marshall McLuhan

The Medium is in the message

^You’re probably thinking the same thing right now.

When I first heard this quote, I had absolutely no idea what it meant either, let alone what I’d be writing about in this post. It was new, confusing, complicated- and I did not like that. So, after countless hours of tormented thinking, I finally had an idea and something worthy to write as my opinion on Marshall McLuhan’s quote.

Simply put, the medium IS the message! Still confused and wondering ‘what is she on about?’ Let me explain…

Marshall McLuhan further explains in this quote, ‘This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium- that is, of any extension of ourselves –result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.’

To summarise, the medium is ‘an extension of ourselves’, and the message is ‘the change of scale, pace or pattern of behaviour’.

So what exactly is ‘the medium’?

Think about the chair that you’re currently sitting on. While sitting on that chair, the chair is an extension of yourself- therefore, the chair is the medium.

Now let’s say that you’re sitting on this chair in the middle of class, skimming through Facebook and this blog post. The chairs are all rowed before the teacher, who is the only one standing in the room. Now the classroom, and the chairs in it, are the medium. So what would happen if there were no chairs at all? The message of the classroom will have ultimately changed- if there were no chairs, everyone in the room will be standing, or sitting together on the ground. The message will change from the teacher having power to everyone being equal.

Now let’s look at how changes in media platforms can change the message of the medium.

Vinyl recor

I created this meme as an ironic sign of how quickly mediums can change, and how equally quickly their messages can change- influencing the pace, scale or pattern of behaviour. When vinyl discs were first created, they were used as a means of recording and playing music. However, where other mediums of playing music like cassettes and CDs were overtaken by new evolutions such as the mp3 player, the vinyl disc ‘mutated’. The vinyl disc was discovered for its new purpose of remixing music, and with this began the formation of its new ‘outer shell’ to further explore this new genre of music, and the ‘DJ’ phenomenon took the world by storm. It mutated to form the same medium, just with a new case- the change in medium resulted in a change with the message! What once was used for simply playing music to passive consumers, soon became a new form of media platform for active participants.

Well, that’s all I’ve got to say for now. I hope this made sense to you all out there, and I appreciate any comments you have about this post!

Speak to you soon!




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