How Medium Effects the Message

What does it mean for a medium to be the message?  Another way to think of this is what do certain mediums have that others don’t.  For instance, when we talk to individual face to face we pick up on inflections in voice, gestures, and other factors.  On the other hand, when we communicate over text, we do not have the other nonverbal messages to pick up on context.  Also, the type of communication can affect how people live their individual lives.  Twitter is a perfect example of this.  Since Twitter has become more and more popular it has also divided people and ultimately created large online communities.  This happens because people do not always use their real name because of this they feel as if they can say whatever they want without any repercussions.  Other people will see this an agree and disagree on it and create two sides.  With the limited amount of message space, it becomes a platform that consist of name calling, and judging on a large scale.

Twitter (@Twitter) | Twitter

When living in today’s society it is very common to walk into an office or a classroom and find a bunch of people not talking but looking down at their phones, tablets or computers.  There is a chance that some are scrolling through twitter looking and responding to online communities.  In Media Ecology by Marshall McLuhan says, “A medium shapes us because we partake of it over and over until it becomes an extension of ourselves.” (311.).   This shows that the more we walk into places and ignore the people around us and scroll on twitter the more it becomes a part of us.  Then the more we use it the more we start to distance from one another.  This creates an environment where people are interacting less and less.  This creates a large online community that that McLuhan describes as a “global village. Electronic media brings us in contact with everyone, everywhere, instantaneously.” (315.). This creates a new system of communication and communities.  This is where everyone can view and judge how each other live all over the world.  While they are doing this, they are also taking away from building in person relationships and losing the skills that help them do that.  Lastly, when thinking about different mediums of communication one needs to ask, “Have we gained more than we’ve lost?” (317.)  This is a tough question to answer and there are many different views.


Now before twitter we there were different forms of online communication platforms.  This established many online communities.  When twitter was created it allowed for a shift in how people communication.  This platform was one where people could sign up under fake names or as themselves.  It also only allowed for a person to share a short message.  Lastly it allowed other individuals to share and like the messages sent by others.  The circumstances of this medium made it so that people had to be direct with what they wanted to say and that can sometimes come off as off putting.  Also, by allowing people to repost and like certain messages it allowed for people all over the world to connect.  These connections create communities that have the same judgements of other individuals messages around the world.  In sum people are not creating a community and connecting in person anymore.  Thus losing those essential communication needs that one might eventually need.


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