In all seriousness though, how a message is perceived is pretty important these days. My dating life is fine but the way I read into the world around me is not. The way a message is brought into the world is only ever as powerful as its medium. Essentially the medium is the message. Now in all honesty, I don’t quite understand the full effect of this statement by McLuhan – “The medium is the message.” How is the message is so intimately affected by the medium? Media platforms are a direct correlation to the message and the medium. As mediums change, the message ultimately changes also. The effect the medium has on society, whether it be the directed audience or not, changes the message. Therefore (I assume from my understanding) – the message is the medium and the medium is the message.
Another tid bit of thought, the intended audience of a medium also changes the message. Say for example, the Harry Potter series. The book series directed at young adults, essentially children. Book 1, “The Philosophers Stone” is a easy to read, engaging piece of young adult literature. Thus being a book it is a written example of Random Access formatting. Yet if you change the medium and say, open the webpage “Pottermore“, this actually changes the message and the format into Hypertext – allowing hyper access of the materials in the Harry Potter world. Not only does this help open a window for a wider audience, but it changes the original canonical messages by allowing such an insight into the world. This to me, is an example of the medium is the message. As Harry Potter crossed over into a more technologically accessible medium, the world and how it was seen changed also.
Twitter is a medium – yes. The message though can change with how the medium is used. Take ABC’s Monday night program, QandA. A television show, which in its own terms is a leader in interactive media, which utilises the fact that their viewers are FULL of opinions. Therefore by taking the hashtag #QandA and showcasing certain ‘Tweets’, they allow viewers to be a part of the program and changing how we watch TV. Twitter essentially was a start of the ‘talk-back’ trend for television and live media broadcasts. Such as it it, I am a massive fan of Twitter AND QandA, so follow me @foxfillip as well for my rants on Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott. Trust me, they’re titillating (Thanks Miriam Margolyes for that reference).
- McLuhan, Marshall. (1964) Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: McGraw Hill.