English 518 Course Blog

February 6, 2007

Is The Medium the Message? I think so…..

Filed under: Uncategorized — tmitchell01 @ 9:57 pm

Is the medium really the message? If so, what message is it sending? After reading Marshall’s article I have come to the realization that society is dependent on instant responses.  Have you ever become angry when waiting for a traffic light to change or a response to an e-mail? If so, then you too are guilty of the impatient syndrome.  In his article Marshall stated “the medium is the message because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scales and form of human association and action.” This statement is so true! Human association is based on our ability to communicate with others on our own terms. By “own terms” I am referring to Internet, letters, etc.  The use of Internet sends the message to its users that communication is extremely prompt and accessible, while; mail delivery or letters sends the message that communication takes a while to receive but is still very accessible. Society has become accustomed to instant response and instant reply.  Marshall’s use of the electric light is a perfect example of how we as members of society overlook the medium because it has no content. The electric light is available to serve many purposes in the world. I’m confident that without the electric light our lives would become misconstrued.  Electrical light is a medium that effects our outlooks on the world.  Instead of only focusing on the information or experience gained from the medium, we should learn to appreciate and analyze that medium simutaneously.  In many instances our emotions and reacions are based off of mediums.  For example, a message may not be perceived the same if it is received through a text and then a letter.  People initially respond to information based on its medium.  I too am guilty of this. This article has opened my eyes to the way I process and appreciate information!



  1. I agree we are an impatient society and we demand instant gratification. However, I still want to nitpick on how the medium can change the message. If i get a letter that says “screw you,” and an email that says “screw you” and someone vocally says to me “screw you”…then I’m screwed. 🙂 I am probably annoyed, upset, and I don’t see how the medium affects the meaning of the message. If a professor sends me an instant message that they need to discuss my grade, or if I receive the same message via email, phone call, or letter, I still worried and anxious. For me, the meaning doesn’t change. I think the instant gratification and impatience of society are correlations, and not derivations, of this topic.

    Comment by shenra — February 6, 2007 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

  2. I agree with the instant demand for gratification. However, I must say that the “screw you” example is only one of few phrases that could be universal in terms of mediums. If I received a message in my e-mail that said “Call me ASAP” I wouldn’t consider it as serious as a text message in my phone that says “Call me ASAP.” This is because the medium is directly connected to the message.

    Comment by tmitchell01 — February 6, 2007 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

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