This week’s lecture was about Marshal McLuhan’s concept, “The Medium Is The Message.” But what does this phrase mean? To put it into simple terms, the medium provides a message, not only of the content it is delivering but of the society that is using it. With a changing medium comes an evolution of societal and cultural way of thinking, thus resulting in a new message. The medium in essence becomes an extension to the human existence as its message plays into the scale, pace or pattern of behaviour.
Over time, the’ message’ of writing has changed due to changing mediums through convergence. The Papyrus Scroll was an early form of writing which only allowed for sequential access which was fit for letters and storytelling. The codex which was the precursor to the book format, allowed readers to have random access to its content. The web or hypertext allows easy, hyper-access due to the linking of content and the use of video and pictures. Therefore, this evolution of writing has revolutionised how society sends and receives messages highlighting that we as a society are eager for more information from more sources, faster.
The web is a hub for opinions and with a large majority of the web’s content created by non-professionals or ‘prosumers’. With there being a low cost of production, low risk of failure and an abundance of opportunities, the medium of the web has generated the message that the consumer can be the producer. This notion can be seen in the media platform that is Tumblr. It allows users to create media and share it with the world, thus suggesting that the message of the medium that is tumblr is that consumers have now become prosumers. Anyone can create a blog and create content. In summary, the medium is in fact the message. It provides an insight into the society that is using it, showing us how the convergence of mediums over time have meet the social and cultural needs of a civilisation or have changed attitudes and behaviours towards aspects of an individual’s life.
- Federman, M. (2004) What is the Meaning of the Medium is the Message? http://individual.utoronto.ca/markfederman/MeaningTheMediumistheMessage.pdf
- Jenkins, H. (2006). “Worship at the altar of convergence”: A new paradigm for understanding media change. In H. Jenkins,Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide (pp 1-24). New York: New York University Press.http://www.nyupress.org/webchapters/0814742815intro.pdf