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  • Writer's pictureSequoia Powell

What's Medium Got To Do With It?

What's a medium besides a tool for delivering messages? Apparently, everything according to this guy Marshall McLuhan.

He believes that messages are simply less important than the medium that is used to communicate that message. Basically, the technology in which the message is delivered can shape the way people think, react, and feel in society. Or, in the words of McLuhan, "We shape our tools, and they, in turn, shape us."

Now, I am sure you are thinking this guy is nuts and clearly overcomplicating media. However, he does make a few strong points in his theory. For instance, you've probably heard or even said yourself that the internet or computers are making us stupid. As if it has some type of effect on a person and how they behave. Well, according to McLuhan, it does. As we know, this can be true in some cases, like this one where people tried the fire challenge

It's definitely safe to say that society has changed by the way messages are communicated. Consider how often you find yourself watching TV, talking on the phone, and scrolling through social media at the same time. This wouldn't be possible if you read a book and tried to simultaneously talk on the phone, proving that the medium is more important than the content since it determines our capabilities. Plus, everything is digital in today's society, which has changed how we act and think. For instance, using voice tech, like in this video, to answer calls, change the channel, respond to text messages, and more. 

Of course, there a few limitations to McLuhan's theory. Mainly, it's outdated. For one, radios are no longer a staple piece in homes. In fact, you'll probably have a hard one finding one in general. It's evolved into smart speakers, internet radio, podcasts, syndicated shows, etc. Plus, books and magazines are now available online, like Time Magazine, instead of printed. The same goes for TV that has dramatically changed since McLuhan's time. We can access shows on-demand and online through the internet with the capability to watch it on our computer or smartphones. These limits McLuhan's theory because radio, print, and TV media aren't dominant in our society, making some of his points outdated. 

Now, do I find some of his ideas useful, you ask? Well, it depends on the situation. I believe he was on the right track with the way society is changed by the form of technology used to deliver the message. Just look at how much we rely on smartphones and smart devices. However, some of his points are a bit outdated and confusing. 

Sometimes leaving me wondering, what's medium got to do with it? 

But, who asked me?

Until next time, peace! ✌️ 

xo, Sequoia 

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