Marshall McLuhan

I’ve never like Marshall McLuhan‘s saying that “the medium is the message.” I’ve always thought that it sounded stupid, pretentious, and an all around self-satisfied attempt of sound avant-garde. The medium is not the message. The f**king message is the message. Geez…

Then one day, I was talking with Marianne Ackerman about blogs and stuff, and I caught myself saying that McLuhan was wrong, that the medium wasn’t the message, but rather the message is the medium.

What did I mean by that? I’m not quite sure. I was on my 3rd beer, but I’m sure that I has some point, and I suspect that it has something to do with how content is adapted to a medium, but not dictated by it. In other words, the message exists independently of the medium and doesn’t ever change; only the messenger does.

2 thoughts on “The Medium is the Messenger, That is All

  1. Well, it can depend.

    Sometimes the medium is the message is there is no message. How many times have you gone to and felt compelled to say something and you couldn’t think of a thing? Ok, I have many times. Channel surfing on cable is the same thing in my mind – you have a need to watch TV but you don’t really watch it, you are using the medium.

    In general though I try to avoid these kinds of discussions as I can think of better things to do, like take a walk along the lake…


  2. @Mike,
    Okay, you have a point with Twitter. It was actually a blog post by Nick Carr that got me thinking of this. He got to talking about social media (re: Twitter) and said:

    Mass media reaches its natural end-state when we broadcast our lives rather than live them.

    But I still think that it’s more of a moral than a message, a “conclusion” that we should draw from the current state of things. It just so happens that with some media, that conclusion is “written on the wall.”

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