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The Medium is the Message

PsybinDec 30, 2018, 3:07:10 AM

Marshall McLuhan said that "the medium is the message". The content of any medium is inconsequential to the medium's influence on the psyche of the individual and society as a whole, or at the most plays a minor role in said influence. This is true regardless of the medium in question, no matter if it is as simple as the electric light, or as complex as print or television. New technological media also irreversibly change society and bring about new problems of their own.

Probably the only medium without tangible content is the electric light, but it still vastly restructured society, much like how trains brought about city life regardless of climate, and how print changed oral societal traditions into written ones.

The message of television is to mindlessly swallow whatever is presented to you, and to consume whatever is shown between the programming currently being aired. It is indeed called programming for good reason. Television is a one-way street, in that you have no interaction with it. It gives the sense of a low-vibrational droning and a numbing of the conscious mind, where the subconscious simply accepts everything being pushed onto the viewer. One does not even need to pay attention to the TV in the room to be within its influential grasp.

McLuhan wrote:

For any medium has the power of imposing its own assumption on the unwary. Prediction and control consist in avoiding this subliminal state of Narcissus trance. But the greatest aid to this end is simply in knowing that the spell can occur immediately upon contact, as in the first bars of a melody.

The internet is a unique medium. It is for the first time in written history a medium where one can truly interact with the content being presented. The message is one of freedom and decentralization of information. The idea of content being presented has shifted with the internet, since it isn't a push technology like television, but rather a pull technology, where one decides on the content they see. Then again, in recent times, it has in a way shifted back to push technology, with advertising being tailored to the individual based on their personal--and supposedly private--data.

It is also unique because there are endless sub-media within it, and sub-media within them. The web is a sub-media to the internet itself, which also has a virtually infinite number of sub-media, such as social media like Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is more on the push side of things, especially true with its blatant disregard for privacy as it mines users' data to no end and displays relevant ads, as well as the ever-updating content feed.

The message of Facebook can be summed up by Mark Zuckerberg's own IMs revealed in 2010, where he talks about users giving him (via Facebook) their personal info: "they 'trust me'... dumb fucks". It matters not whether one posts a photo of their dinner, or if they write the most enlightening piece of wisdom, Facebook is still gathering your data and sharing it with whomever they please.

Wrote McLuhan regarding the content of a given medium:

For the 'content' of a medium is like the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind. The effect of the medium is made strong and intense just because it is given another medium as 'content.'

In Facebook's case, the content is quite literally a juicy piece of meat with users' dinner photos.

Twitter, one of the other few social media platforms comprising the current monopoly on internet speech we see today, has a message that is less about data mining and more about quick bursts of thought that can reach a large number of people. However, both platforms have lately included in their inherent message that free speech isn't necessarily a right on these "privately-owned platforms", but rather a privilege that is at the whim of the ones controlling them. It is absurdly biased toward the left, the same as the other media giants (Facebook, Google, Youtube), as we have seen with multitudes of conservative bannings and deplatforming, such as Infowars and Laura Loomer, while liberals (and others agreeing with the current agenda) can say nearly anything they please without similar consequence.

Regarding media and our rights, McLuhan wrote:

Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left.

The messages of these social media are starting to wear on--and downright disgust--people, as we can see with the creation of new platforms such as Minds and Gab. The message of Minds is that of freedom of expression and decentralization of profit, which is evident in the Minds token system, where the users, not the platform creators, get rewarded for content and participation. This trend will continue to increase as more people lose their patience with the shredding of their rights and migrate away from the social media monopoly giants.