Medium Is the Message

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 1094
  • Published : March 12, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
Marshall McLuhan claims that any change taking place around us is an extension of ourselves, or, in other words, any medium is an extension of a human body or mind or senses. For an instance, the hammer is an extension of a human’s arm, the wheel is an extension of a human’s leg, and the medium of a language helps us to put our thoughts and emotions into words. According to this, things around us would not be the medium unless it does its function. Like, an electric light itself is a medium without the message, pure information, unless we use it in a verbal ad, for example. Only then it affects us and changes our lives because since then we are surrounded by the medium. In other words, cultures are changed not only by the “content” of technology, but also by the technology itself.

The obvious advantage or disadvantage of innovation or technology is easy to see. But, according to McLuhan’s theory, the main “content” of any new creation is only not about it. His idea is that the medium is the message itself, and any medium inevitably has its effect on another medium. For example, the railway was not only the new means of transportation, the main “content” of the railway was about creating new kinds of cities and work and leisure. In other words, in addition to providing fast and cheap transportation for people, the railway also basically restructured society. McLuhan’s argument holds that beyond transportation, the railway had tremendous “psychic and social consequences” on society.

In order to recognize and understand the social and psychological effects of technology, one must “consider not only the ‘content’ but the medium and the cultural matrix within which the particular medium operates”. McLuhan says that all technology can be analyzed this way; but many researchers have studied only the effects of the content of technology on our society and neglected to look at it within the “cultural matrix.” In order to understand our culture, it is important to...
tracking img