The Medium is the Message: trajectories of convergence

“The medium is the message. 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.” – Federman, M. (2004)

In all honesty, when I was reading this quote and the rest of the information, I didn’t really know how to interpret it. Even now, when I look at it in writing and think that I may know what it actually means, I’m still doubting myself. I think this is something that I’ll need to ask about in tutorials and I’ll also need to try and stop underestimating my understanding of things if I want to succeed in this subject, even just in general.

This was me when trying to understand what "the medium is the message" means.

This was me when trying to understand what “the medium is the message” means. Image source here.

From my understandings, if the medium is an extension of ourselves (McLuhan), anything that we use, whether it may be a phone, camera, video camera, laptop, etc. is considered the medium and the message is a change of scale, pace and patter in behaviour. This concludes to me that how people depict certain things through the medium is the message. I feel as though I will need more explanation into this and I feel like it may be something so simple and I’m making it much harder on myself. If anyone can help explain this to me, please do leave a comment.

The lecture was very informative about writing media when talking about sequential access and random access in regards to the way an audience can access information through text. I understood that completely. This just shows that new media platforms can help with new ways of writing information which can be publicised on the web and read in an entirely new way.

I enjoyed learning about the cost of failure in the printed book industry – authors could be losing out on money from the costs of production and not even end up having an audience. It’s a very risky situation, although I do enjoy reading literature through a hand held book rather than an e-book. It’s just more convenient to have your content displayed on the web, there’s no cost of production and if you don’t gather an audience on the web, there is still no failure or waste of money.

The highlight of the lecture was when Ted played the numa numa song – it was made in 2004 by Gary Brolsma and in just 2 years he had received over 700 million views – this was before YouTube was even made. Even though the song was stuck in my head for the rest of the day it was interesting to see how different kind of media platforms can spread a message around and that others could join in on the message too as seen from the many remakes of the song.

All in all, the lecture was enjoyable and I’m glad to be able to see what I know and what I don’t know through this reflection of the class and the information presented to me. Hopefully all the questions that are lingering in my brain will be answered in tutorials and maybe even through the comments.

Till next week’s BCM112 lecture,



2 responses to “The Medium is the Message: trajectories of convergence

  1. Hey!
    Your argument is quite engaging and your use of examples, in regards to the song, helps simplify quite a challenging and complex theory.
    Now the way I understood McLuhan’s theory of ‘The Medium is the Message’ was as a metaphor- in which I think he intended it that way.
    First of all, it is necessary to think of the media and the concept of the medium as beyond just the internet.
    It is any space that is capable of carrying a message (communicating)- i.e. a bus or a road.
    The example that I used to help simplify this concept was the mobile phone. Literally, we receive messages through this medium. However, because we are focusing on the content that is generated by this medium, we are at times oblivious of the subtle messages being generated by the medium itself. In this case for example, how the mobile phone can form and shape particular facets of social life.
    Look at it this way, the mobile phone is a communicative device. However, it is also a freely ‘mobile’ device. Because of this, it can interrupt us at anytime. Our social lives then become dependent and influenced by these interruptions as expectations of these interruptions occur. And so, a hidden message through this medium is actually the notion of expectations generated by the interruptions.
    I hope that clarified it a bit for you- I’m still trying to understand the concept as well.


    • Hey!
      I kind of take things quite literal which makes it hard for me to understand things and I think that may be why I haven’t seen it in a more metaphorical way. That has cleared some of the air a little bit, thanks for taking the time to comment and write such an in depth explanation of the concept to me, it’s greatly appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

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