I think its safe to say that we have all witness some change or evolution in the media and its medium, from Mp3 players to iPods. But more so over the centuries we’ve seen a dramatic change in our medium in which we view the media, the most obvious being the introduction of the Internet
“’The medium is the message’ tells us that noticing change in our societal or cultural ground conditions indicates the presence of a new message, that is, the effects of a new medium” – Mark Federman
The medium is the message, comes from Marshall McLuhan theory, this theory basically states that technology from analog to digital has changed the channels of media and the way in which we see them and perceive them allowing its content to be accessed across different platforms. This rapid change in technology has allowed a quicker and easier process for us to manipulate and distort any given message. The most obvious being through numerous different political campaigns, but is also evident in the circulation of Dino Ignacio’s photoshopped creation of “Bert is Evil” in 2001. This image of Sesame Street’s 1970’s “Bert interacting with terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden” hit wide spread media during the wake of 9/11 when it found itself localized in Pakistan, having no knowledge to Bert and Ernie where. This later found itself being broadcasted in the background of CNN’s broadcast grabbing the attention of the Sesame Street producers, and caused major feud between the two. This rapid growth from a Filipino-American high school student’s bedroom to a legal battle between CNN and Sesame Street producers is a perfect example of the extension of the medium. You may ask, how does that even work? Because I know I am on some level.
But from my understanding of this McLuhan warns us that we focus too deeply on the medium in which content is published paying less attention to the message its trying to convey. It’s the medium that makes us believe in the message, it allows us to perceive the message from different angles depend on the medium it is presented in, and “we are often distracted by the content of a medium”.
This has become such a big topic of discussion amongst media enthusiasts due to its audiences becoming more active participants in media, therefore meaning to me that the ‘medium is the message’ didn’t really exist while we the audience were just consumers of its message. As we have become more active participants in the creation of the message on different media platforms, voicing our opinions, just through a click of a button.
It’s the message that influences a change in reaction within the audience. It’s not the medium, which it’s presented in but the message, which it conveyed to change the minds of the audience. The medium is an extension of ourselves, and we, the audience are becoming the medium to the messages being created.
- Federman. M (2004), ‘What is the Meaning of the Medium is the Message?’ <http://individual.utoronto.ca/markfederman/MeaningTheMediumistheMessage.pdf>
- Jenkins, H. (2006), ‘Introduction: “Worship at the Altar of Convergence” A new paradigm for understanding media change. In H. Jenkins, Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide (pp 1). New York: New York University Press. <http://www.nyupress.org/webchapters/0814742815intro.pdf>