“The medium is the message.” – Marshall McLuhan
A concept that I’m still trying to understand myself, however I’ll try my best to convey my knowledge on the subject.
Simply put that a message delivered to an audience through one form of medium may have a completely different meaning if the medium through which its delivered is changed.
During my tutorial yesterday, my group and I decided to tweet my tutor directly and ask him for assistance, amusing him and thus making us his top priority. However, if we had simply asked for his assistance by shouting across the room, not only would our demands get lost in a sea of voices that were discussing the topic at hand, our message would be no more or less important than all of the other students asking for his attention through the same medium. We changed the medium, hence the message itself changed; reiterating the fact that the medium is as important, if not more important, than the message itself.
And yes, that actually happened.
In this case the medium is considered to be any extension of yourself, i.e. your computer, your voice, or even the chair you’re sitting on; anything that further enhances our body’s innate abilities. The message is considered to be “the change of scale, pace or pattern of behaviour,” (Marshall McLuhan) as opposed to the actual content and information contained in the message, as the message is dictated by the reception of the audience.
The “message” part of this whole concept is perhaps most confusing. Why is the meaning of message the effect that the communicated message has on its audience, rather than the actual definition of message?
I’ve said message so many times that it doesn’t even sound like a real word anymore.
I’m sure I’ll grow to understand this topic more as the semester goes on (at least I hope so) but for now that is my basic understanding.