The medium is the message….?
Thanks Yoda, but you’ve just made Marshall McLuhan’s paradoxical statement even more confusing than it already was – let me attempt to translate.
The medium, by McLuhan’s definition, is “any extension of ourselves” – our seats, clothing, even our online presence. Although a movie may be a medium, everything from the theatre to our popcorn are extensions of ourselves. BAM! – mediums. The message, on the other hand, is more than information; it’s the “change” brought about as a result of the medium – the way we sit and behave in a movie theatre compared to a rock concert, for example.
In terms of today’s society, we can look at the evolution of the media we use – the move from analog to digital mediums, and from sequential to random, otherwise known as “convergence culture”. As we are presented with the freedom to manipulate these mediums (eg. making playlists on Spotify rather than listening to an entire cassette), the “message” is the effect on us – we are no longer passive spectators, we are active participants.