“The Medium is the Message”- or is it?

Kaitlin Sweyer
2 min readJun 17, 2022

The main point of McLuhan’s idea is that a society dominated by electronic media will differ from a print-dominated one because people relate to the world around them according to which senses they use to learn about it. The media, like other tools, extend human capacities. In simpler terms, the medium is more important than the content of the message.

According to the Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences (2021), “social networking media ensure connection of the people of various cultures, religions and boundaries and allow them enjoy the experience of being members of a single community. Social media platforms have not only transformed the world into a small village but also fashioned every facet of man’s social life”.

In an example from BBC Radio 4, they shared that the main focus on written word was the visual whereas the main focus of the spoken word was the ear and how it was heard.

“The Medium is the Message” by BBC Radio 4

One of the strengths of McLuhan’s ideas is the idea of the global village. To me, this automatically screams the internet. McLuhan didn’t necessarily experience the internet, but he shared that people were being encouraged to participate. We can clearly see this when it comes to the whole world participating in the internet. When you really think about it, it’s astonishing how connected the world is, even compared to 25 years ago.

I can agree that there are many times that I am more apt to listen or watch something depending on who is sharing it. Heck, even the video from BBC Radio 4 was narrated by Gillian Anderson and I was much more excited about watching that video than the others.

A few of the limitations that come with McLuhan’s ideas can also go hand in hand with the strong points. He speaks of the global village being a place where people are united as one. We have seen that when we all have excessive access to the internet, we may not be as united as we had hoped.

I also believe that it is not necessarily as cut and dry as McLuhan may be presenting. I do think the message is important and it is necessary that people don’t just assume that a message isn’t important if they don’t necessarily enjoy the medium it is being presented on. I do believe this can be considered slightly misleading. I do believe that content is also important. But I do understand that McLuhan is sharing that it is important to have these technologies to only enhance the interactions we are having.