The medium is the message

As firstly claimed by Marshall McLuhan, the medium is the message, which indicated our world’s transition from analog to digital media. That is to say, medium instead of content shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action, just like how trains and airplanes had changed our society. As mentioned in the video above, the monitor itself is more important than what it has captured as it is already an alert to criminals. 

Before I started reading McLuhan’s articles, I was thinking of another similar phrase, the medium is the media. However, I have found them quite different in terms of their scope. “The medium is the media” mostly refers to exchange of emotions or ideas, for example, slamming the door certainly conveys the idea of anger clearly without any words. What McLuhan meant is not just about how people communicate and convey what they think, it is more about how the medium developed and changed people’s way of life. McLuhan focused on the transitions, for example, the wave indicates the sound before the airplane exceeds the speed of sound. Wave here is the medium, while the sound is the content. And we all agree that wave matters more especially nowadays when most people have taken a flight.

More interestingly, McLuhan also claimed that all media are extensions to human senses in a man’s world a few decades ago, which could be challenged with the development of artificial intelligence.


With reference to The New Media Reader, page 203-209.

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