8/31 “The Medium is the Message” – Bridget Hall

In Medium is the Message, Marshall McLuhan argues that the way in which a message is delivered is just as important and impactful as the message itself. 

In his book, Medium is the Message, Marshall McLuhan places an emphasis on focusing on the medium of the message rather than the message itself. According to BBC radio, which explained the philosopher’s theory in a short video, “the medium is the message” is a “deliberately paradoxical statement.” 

The video explains that as technology advances the content is becoming less and less important. The form of the message becomes more relevant throughout this major shift in communications. In McLuhan’s own words, “it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action.” In other words the form the content is presented to the reader, listener, or viewer affects the way they process the information.  

Although McLuhan’s book was written in 1964, his theories still apply. The examples that are used might be slightly outdated but his arguments are all valid and can be applied to mediums that are common to the digital age. He speaks of the shift from oral cultures to print based cultures. It is quite interesting to consider how we process different forms of media in this day and age. For example, the interpretation an individual has of an advertisement on TV is much different than the one they have for an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper. The different mediums can also affect our actions after we take in that information. An individual who sees an advertisement in a magazine might rip that promotion out of the magazine and head to the store to pick up that product. Whereas an individual who sees an advertisement on TV might use their computer to research other alternatives before purchasing that product online. It is fascinating to think about the cognitive processes behind a message and the medium it is presented in. 

One thought on “8/31 “The Medium is the Message” – Bridget Hall

  1. It’s really interesting to see how the content people post nowadays are becoming less meaningful. Internet users are becoming social media users, who base their content off of their audience and social norms. These factors therefore change the way people behave and think. I also agree that it’s fascinating to see how technology has continued to change our cognitive processes as it continues to evolve.

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