The Medium is the Message, ###

by phil on Tuesday Nov 4, 2003 7:03 PM
Idea Archive


You've heard "The Medium is the Message", but what does it mean? Read this snip about McLuhan and his seminal book "Understanding Media: Extensions of Man" to get the picture.


I'm attempting to read his book which is a somewhat tricky read, esp. since it was written in 1967... Basically... the "medium is the message" mantra is an attempt to debunk the notion that "technology isn't inherently good or bad, but it is rather how we use it" ... McLuhan thinks otherwise, looking at each technology as another appendage or extension of man's already existing functions... and every extension, to him, implies an amputation of pre-existing methods. If Airplanes made the railway obsolete, and the railway made wagons obsolete, then wagons made carrying stuff on your back from village to village obsolete. The function of personal distribution of goods has been extended by various technologies to eliminate space and time constraints... You can read that link above for more.


Read Michael Shanks's discussion on Media eigenvectors as a way of describing media in the abstract, talking about knobs such as redundancy, persistence, temporality, richness, and complexity. Very out-there, yet readable and interesting. Deepness ensues. UPDATE: McLuhan applied to today's tech.


Or, just watch this film Network.

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