Sunday, 27 March 2011

Media is The Massage

'The Medium is the Massage' is a book by Marshall McCluhan and Quinten Fiore, first published in 167 by Peguin books, it's reveared as the first book that made people fully understand the benefits of technological advancements in all aspects of media, from books to film. In fact to drive home the potential of print and the advancements in printing technology 'The Medium is the Massage' features a very unique and creative layout, this not only shows the reader examples of ways print has developed but ingrained it onto their minds. Ironically it was a printing error of the word 'message' that ultimately gave the book it's slightly odd title.

The book outlines various themes such as the learnings of society were recieve as we mature from child to adulthood, noting that technological advances have effects on people and their societies. It notes that social and cultural environments are affected by the technological advancements and often the most common form of anxieties are created by trying to complete the tasks of today with yesterdays tools (i.e. computers, software) and that our time on the earth has been a constant string of achievements of development and crossing barriers ultimately improving ourselfs or technologies.

The mere existance of this book as surely it could become as obsolete as the technologies it talks about. Medium is the Masaage is a look at our time with media students who focus m0re on the method rather than the concept and how older people ultimately can become dependant on the technologies of today where as younger generations would be able to adapt without it as they've constantly been surrounded by it.

The book is seperated into chapters below I'll outline the main features of each chapter;

You:
  • What has made you who you are?
  • Is there a lack of privacy in a world were everything is recorded?
  • "You are not a name but, a number"

This chapter outlines themes of personal development and survielance, questioning if this has helped shape people into being obediant as if their every move is being watched, they can get caught.

Family:
  • Family has widened
  • You're influced by the World around you
  • "All the World is a sage", a soure of information
This chapter keeps with the theme of personal growth citing that with ever widening networks there are more influences that go in to the development of an adult. Today this is very true with the internet in developed cultures being widely availible information and connections can be attained more easily than ever.

Neighbourhood:
  • Electronic reach widens, creating new boundries
  • You can't clock off.
In the terms of 'unable to clock off', with the advent of mobile phones it has become possible that a person can be contacted at any point and recently it was revealed that last year UK citizens have lost a total of £23 Million in unpaid (around £4650 each), all due to being able to be contacted directly, ofcourse most don't mind as it's only maybe an hour hear of work related advice there or even work brought home but it still proves the point of not being able to truly clock off.

Education:
  • Home and Classroom have different paces
  • Child was previously merged into the adult world
  • Child now lives in two different worlds
  • Different paces = ADHD
  • Growing up is a child's job
In the education chapter the author states that where as there was no education system a child was iducted into the adults world as soon as they could work, but today because of classroom and education a child has to deal with the two different paces of the different social worlds, it's suggested that this leads to cases of ADHD, where learning is a slow process it might not be able to hold the attention of pupils as they also live in a world with faster paced objects such as television.

Your Job:
  • Fragmentation of Work
  • Blend into more rules and responsibilites
  • Machines are taking over.
This chapter deals with the work place and how people today have to constantly revise their wiring to conform to the rules and responsibilities of a demanding job, that in the end may be taken over by machines anyways. Also drawing referance to the fact that work has become so fragmented in the process for a final product that perhaps any job could be considered a factory assembly line.

Goverment:
  • Media has more control than goverment
  • Media can be the medium to interact with the goverment
Here the author is drawing reference to how when a news story is released it can actually sway peoples opinions on the goverment, this can result in people voting for different political parties ultimately it's the media who decided who is in charge.

The book contiues to highlight that all media is an extention of one's body using examples such as clothes are the extention of the skin and electric circuitry is an extention of the nervesystem, the author also cites that the dominant organ before the alphabet was the ear and that since then cultures and histories have been set by alphabets. Stating that writing is the beginnings of culture and civilisation, McCluhan notes that because of writing we can keep record that ultimately fixes problems such as disputes.

"Slower Communication is irrelevant, information is constatly being compiled upon."

In short this book deals with the theme that Technology and people's developing mind ultimately advances cultures to the next step and just by looking at one person's life you can define changes that have happened along the way all thanks to technology.

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