In 1967 Marshall McLuhan published a book “The medium is the Message” in his book he theorizes that the way we send information is more important than the information itself.
McLuhan’s first theory on how media was spread began with what he called the ‘acoustic age,’ this, he explained was our first medium. Relying on word of mouth to spread information, specifically, news, was the easiest and most reliable way to communicate.
“Until writing was invented, we live in an acoustic space: boundless, directionless, horizonless, in the dark of the mind, in the world of emotion, by primordial intuition. Speech is a social chart of this bog.”
Here is a quick summary of McLuhan’s theory
McLuhan then discusses the beginning of the ‘writing age’, which he notes detaches us from our thoughts because we could write them down rather than verbally explain. This was the beginning of spreading media without having others present. Causing our ideas to become internalized and instead of thinking, we started using.
To me, this idea of using instead of thinking shapes our society today. We are so focused on our phones, computers, and tablets worrying about what our next social media status will be. As someone who uses social media more than I should, I find myself posting content before thinking about it. Even posting without thinking, because it’s become close to second nature.
Social media is a clear example of how ‘The Medium is The Message,’ one example is Snapchat. The medium itself is Snapchat, whereas the message is the pictures and videos being posted. However, with this, are the messages being sent really that important? Or is it how they are being sent the important part? McLuhan states that the technology used to translate messages is what’s important, and is what changes our societies. As technologies advance, we as consumers want the next best thing, therefore, we care about the medium rather than the message.
McLuhan also stated that “we shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us,” in this society, this tends to be true. To me, the rapid increase of social media apps being created and updated is in a sense controlling and driving users to be online more than usual. The more we post on these apps, and the more our online presence grows, what we post, like or share, shape us in a way that may be completely different from our presence offline……. Could it be that our social platforms are the medium and we in this instance, are the message?
“The medium is the message” because it is the “medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action.”