In BCM112 this week, we unpacked the idea of the medium being the message. Before this lecture I always had the opinion that the medium had little value in the portrayal of the message and was more of a channel for the message. This assumption was completely flipped however when Marshall McLuhan‘s the medium is the message came to my attention.
Laswell’s communication model is a key diagram in understanding how a message is communicated. The medium, derived from latin word “medius” meaning middle is part of this model as a channel for the message to travel through (Mitew 2021). McLuhan pulled the medium out of this chain and suggested that it was actually of a lot more worth.
Understanding McLuhan’s ideas can be solved by asking a few simple questions:
What is more impacting, a Youtube video or that there is a Youtube platform to share videos on?
Is being able to read a text message more valuable than having access to your phone?
The point of these questions is to show the importance of the medium as it is.
McLuhan recognised that the way that a message is received is just as important at the message itself. He saw how people began to change as new technologies arose like TV and radio. He predicted that eventually these new technologies would unite each other and create a “gobal village” much like the internet we use today.
- Mitew, T 2021, ‘The messages of media’, online lecture, BCM112, University of Wollongong, viewed 9 March 2021, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=160&v=woXANjlBhpY&ab_channel=TeodorMitew>>
- BBC Radio 4 2015, ‘The Medium is the Message’, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko6J9v1C9zE&t=1s&ab_channel=BBCRadio4>
- McLuhan, M 1964, ‘Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man’, <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/2703698/mod_resource/content/0/McLuhan%20-%20The%20medium%20is%20the%20message.pdf>
- Open Culture, ‘Marshall McLuhan Explains Why We’re Blind to How Technology Changes Us, Raising the Question: What Have the Internet & Social Media Done to Us?’, <https://www.openculture.com/2017/08/marshall-mcluhan-explains-why-were-blind-to-how-technology-changes-us.html>