Dear Marshall,

Dear Marshall McLuhan,
I remember learning about you back in one of my many uni. classes... back when I thought I would never ever understand what the heck you were talking about.
I had heard things like "global village" and thought how crazy it was that you understood the Internet and what it would do to society before it even was started.
But what concerned me most was that "the medium is the message".
To hear something that radical scared me. How can the medium - the way we choose to extend ourselves/put ourselves out into the world- be the message and not the message be the message itself. *Thinking about it still makes my head hurt.
But I need to tell you something Marshall... I think you actually got it. You understood that the way we choose to reach out to others, the way we send and receive our life story, is actually a message in itself.
By me choosing to send my thoughts in a letter means that I needed to take time and effort into writing, maybe even hand writing, something to a specific person. The lost art of letter writing still hurts my heart today, because I know when I receive a personal, hand written letter, I almost begin to tear up.
By choosing to text you instead of calling you means that I want to keep it short, or just share a little bit of info., or thought it was more convenient to type that listen to your voice.
By choosing to write this on a blog instead of write this in a journal means I think it is of value for potentially thousands or millions to read, or that I'm even of great importance/interest to read *(assuming more than my instructors and classmates read this blog).
My concern Marshall is that you may have gotten it toooo right. And it makes me wonder if the medium IS the message... what does that say about us today!?
Currently the medium I'm using is the Internet on a computer. I am staring at pixels on a screen... a screen that can change in an instant, that is really a series of code, fuelled by electricity. None of it is permanent. None of it is lasting *(especially when your hard drive crashes...)
I listen to my music on my nano- tunes that I've selected to fit the mood I want to foster- earphones in, ignoring the world around me. The medium: my music, playing only for me, while blocking out the world around me... is the message.
Later today I will tweet something- to whom? I'm not sure. But it will only be 140 characters- which means I need to choose my words carefully. Then I will hit send- and my great thoughts will be out there for the world to see. But what depth is there in what I tweet? Whom will it impact? And how long will it last? Will it stand the test of time like other great thinkers? *(Ironic how today we have access to mass audiences and can share things around the world... but are we really sharing anything of value?!)
At some point I will inevitably creep on Facebook- an online community of individuals. I can feel like I'm a part of these people’s lives and build relationships with them without having ever met or talked face to face with them.
And throughout the entire day I will be using my iPhone- which to me is the pinnacle of why the medium is the message. Much of what we do with media is tailored to "i" the individual. My phone, my Facebook, my blog, my news- It's really all about me and what "i" want. And it seems the more I reach out into various communities the more it is all about me- the individual. And I wonder if it is really a community at all when I sacrifice nothing at all- and I am only concerned about what I can bring to it, or how it can suit my needs. Can a community of individuals really be community at all?! Is this a pictuer of a global village?
Marshall, who knows if this is even what you meant when you said "the medium is the message". But it's got me thinking what if it was....

1 comment

  1. Great blog K. You totally hit on my dislike of FaceBook. Think of your birthday: you can separate the wishes that come from FaceBook (that stem from automatic alerts) with those that come via text message. Or better yet, those lovely people who actually call.

    The way your 'friends' choose to send you bday wishes secretly categorizes them into acquaintances, friends, and BFFs.



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