The Medium is the Massage


It was in 2016 that I went to two IT conferences/expos organised by M$ and at each one, one of the presenters mentioned "The Mediun is the Message" by Marshall McLuhan. Now I was aware of him and his book but had never read it. Six months later, looking round a second hand book stall, I find a copy and buy it. Now, bearing in mind that the paperback was printed in 1965 (several years older than myself), I wasn't expecting much. However, I was wrong. What he had written so neatly summed up the state of the world (from ga "media" perspective) that it might have been written last week. He saw issues with people, the media and technology that we ourselves are now only starting to see. Of course he was talking about a previous generation of technology with telephones, satellites and cheap electronics. The issues we have now, print to screen, landline to messenger, are the same problems he was raising fifty years ago. The only difference being that now everything is one hundred times smaller and quicker. While its easy to think the worst of a world with the Internet and social media, he was pointing ot the same problems 50 years ago.

The book itself is soundbites from a longer paper he wrote called "Understanding Media". As there isn't a lot of text, each section was laid out by the graphic designer Quentin Fiore. It uses photography, typography and illustration in an imaginative way that complements the text.

Tthe book is good and has daded quite well. However it is black and white and laid out in the book format, which is no longer the prevailing visual medium. I thought it might be nice to remix it and bring it up to date. To this end, I got the text of it from the Internet (it is what he would have wanted) and changed the layout to make it reflect more contemporary issues. The amazing thing is, the text is exactly as he wrote it. I am also getting to grips with the parent book and may drop in quotes from that where appropriate.




This is of course, completely unofficial.