Friday, November 5, 2010

The Message

the medium message

For some reason I got super annoyed by Marshall McLuhan's nearly unintelligible article The Medium Is the Message. Here's what I get from the article. First, the content of one medium can be thousands of things, like a computer can play music and movies, and can allow you to skype with your family and friends. And the message of the medium is like a grammar, like the message of a computer is processing information in a fast way, thus an extension of human brain. At last, one who cannot tell the difference between the message and the content of a medium is incarcerated in an invisible prison. In contrast, one who can interpret a medium can cause a revolution in this world by the medium. For example, IBM is one of the largest computer, technology and IT corporation in the world instead of  being a office supply making company according to the article. If my understanding is somewhat correct, I assume one has to know the meaning or the message of what they are using and wanting in order to create something valuable with that medium.

All in all, my thesis is that, you have to truly comprehend the meaning of a medium in order to utilize it to the fully extent and to achieve its incisive effect on the human society.

And I found this video about a prisoner of iphone4


  1. The post about the prisoner of iphone reminded me of how I wondered how many ipads and iphone will be created. Is apple going to take over the new media word with there devices...

  2. Okay, for starters, that video was really funny.
    Secondly, I agreed with your reaction to the article, I found it difficult to follow and had to read it allowed for better comprehension. I liked your summation of his thesis as well, I think it fit what he was trying to say in essence. Do you agree with his thesis? After reading this article I thought it would be interesting to, for example, use the image of the Mona Lisa and present it in varying mediums in one gallery. I feel like this example can illustrate the idea that "the medium is the message" very effectively, but I still disagree in that the medium is more important than the actual message of the image of the Mona Lisa, unless an artist really puts emphasis on the medium.

  3. When I typed allowed, I meant aloud.... haha.

  4. First of all, I would have to agree with Alaina that the video did make me laugh!
    Secondly, as shameful as it may seem, the video somewhat reminded me of myself, when I wanted a BlackBerry (phone) long time ago. Without even knowing what the medium's functions were, I was desperate to buy one just because of the brand name and because everyone was using it! This example fits into your interpretation if McLuhan's article quite well: "you have to truly comprehend the meaning of a medium in order to utilize it to the fully extent..."
    I do agree that without learning about the medium itself, there is no way to be able to understand the message that is being conveyed through that medium. I believe that understanding the medium's message itself, is what leads to the understanding of the broader "message," which in McLuhan's article, I presume, symbolizes society.

  5. Well, I think you are right in that you have to truely comprehend the meaning of a medium and utilize it fully to effect the human society as a whole. But, society can be easily effected by someone who does not know much about a certian medium. Look at the crazy nonsense people upload to youtube everyday. Those users are fully understanding and utilzing this medium, treu, but with garbage, and it still effects our society.

  6. Becoming so obsessed with the branded technology that what it does becomes secondary helped expand thinking about how the medium is the message is still playing out everyday. The marketing of the iPhone 4 was a massage, wouldn't you say?