Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"all media works us over completely"

Image via Google Image
Marshall McLuhan's The Medium is the Massage was published in 1967.  Which I just realized today.  The writing of McLuhan applies so effectively to the technology of today that it never even occurred to me that McLuhan was writing regarding the 'advanced' [ f o r  t h e  t i m e ] technology of the telephone, post, and railway.  
Marshall McLuhan
Image via Google Images


One of McLuhan's most prominent statements from The Medium is the Massage is that all media works us over completely.  This statement can be interpreted in many different ways.  However, my interpretation of what McLuhan is trying to say is that he is stressing how media completely interferes and influences every aspect of our lives.  This influence is unescapable and uncontrollable.  Even now it is difficult to imagine what our lives would be like without being influenced and heavily involved in media.

,.;:?!‘’- (taken from McLuhan's The Medium is the Massage)

We employ visual and spatial metaphors for a great many everyday expressions.
I connected this McLuhan quote (again, written during the 1960s), to our use of emojis in social networking, email, and texting.  Our technological interactions with one another are done primarily through writing; because voice inflection and nonverbal communication signals cannot be picked up on by just reading, smiley faces and other symbols are used to signify and better clarify our intended meaning to the reader.  Without these visual and spatial metaphors our communication would not be nearly as successful.  

8 comments:

  1. I think this makes sense, while I have a hatred for the use of emojis, I do feel like they are sometimes needed. It is difficult to fully understand the context in which text or emails have been written, and if you're anything like me you can sit there and over analyze that text. So the use of emojis makes sense, they also make you look like a 12 year old girl. But this does bring up how media has taken over our lives. We no longer have these face to face interactions, almost all communication is done via text. This is a good way to show how media has sort of taken over everything. :)

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  2. I agree that McLuhan believed that the media is influencing our everyday lives, even in the 1960s before social media. Even then I'm sure advertisements were blaring messages at every person who happened to pass by them. I hadn't picked up on his quote about visual and spatial metaphors until you pointed it out. I really liked the connection between his quote and our use of emojis to communicate our tone and how we are feeling in regards to what we are typing.

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  3. So well written! I had no idea he had written today so that was some food for knowledge I definitely appreciated. One thing you mentioned was the advent of emoji communication, which I would argue takes away from the words that you can say. The kissy emoji is really such a tease, because it already takes a preinstalled interface on the iPhone and makes it say the words 'I like you' to whoever you're speaking to. Why not just say I like you? It could be distracting. As always I love your writing and the design on your blog is neat.

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    1. Exactly! While emojis can help our message be clearer, they can also hinder them and make them more ambiguous. Thanks for the comment!

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  4. Ironically I had just written a sort of lengthy comment admiring how you had a great use of simplicity and condensed your thoughts on McLuhan's views. However, it somehow vanished without saving, so here is the short and sweet version! I loved that you mentioned emojis because I agree, they can carry meaning, but not enough of a significant message on their own. I also really like your use of black white and red. It really draws out your points of emphasis.

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    1. The same thing happened to me! Thanks for noticing the simplicity. I'm trying to keep my blogs kind of short but informative. I don't want anyone to become bored with too much text or anything like that. Negative space is important!

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