This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium… by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.
I dive into the literal sense of “Medium is the Message” and my thoughts revolve around means of communication. The example that strikes me is wishing someone on their birthday. Do we wish our closest friends with “just” a facebook ping? Don’t we convey our closeness with a card, or a gift or best, a hug or a personal visit? The different mediums convey the same message, maybe literally, but the impact is completely different each time, and hence changes the ‘message’. Initially, I was within the boundary of communication and did not fully agree with the author. However, when he used products or concepts as the medium or the message with the examples of light, railways, Shakespeare, etc it just became more fascinating, that I agree with him.
Sticking to the word ‘Medium’, Medium is a blog platform that was launched in 2012, to serve as ‘social journalism’. But so was WordPress and Tumblr launched in 2003 and 2007 respectively. They were also blogging platforms; very well established not necessarily for any kind of journalism. How then did Medium manage to make such a breakthrough? You may call them as blog platforms, but are they only that? Their medium conveys a different “message” or content. If you want to open a new blog and aren’t sure which one, you would scroll through these three platforms, and find that Tumblr is more easy, quirky, casual. Medium is more news, articles, papers, reflections. WordPress could be something in between? You can look at it as you want, however, they are built or created with a varying definition of purpose and hence their mediums differ.
…underlines the point that “the medium is the message” because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action.
Two quotes from the author “Instead of asking which came first, the chicken or the egg, it suddenly seemed that a chicken was an egg’s idea for getting more eggs” and “we have confused reason with literacy, and rationalism with a single technology” shock me as to how relevant they are today in 2017, for something written in 1964. Looking at how mediums are used, exploited and invented today, I would like to add another “M” that precedes the medium, that is… Marketing. And when I say Marketing, the one name that comes to my mind is Apple. To my surprise, I stumbled across this article from The Economist where ‘With Apple, the medium made the message‘.
To elaborate, let me give you an example. Do you remember the Panorama style of taking a picture? Who invented it, or more specifically, which smartphone first had this? The concept of Panorama was born in the 1950s, got into cameras in the 1970s and in digital cameras in the 1990s. Not to mention, the Panorama mode also got into smartphones of Samsung, Sony in the 2000s. When releasing the iPhone 5, Philip Schiller, Apple’s Senior VP of Worldwide… Marketing, does not speak of Panorama in an iPhone, but speaks of ‘Panorama’ itself, as if to suggest that Apple invented the Panorama style of picture taking. Observe the level of detail with which Philip speaks of Panorama that’s already a household concept worldwide or to anyone that has a regular camera. You may have read reports of how the iPhone is “inventing” features that are already present on Android phones long ago. So how does Apple still manage to make an impact? Is it fanboyism, quality, efficiency or Marketing the Medium with the Message.