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5 Examples of Medium Is The Message

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The medium is the message is the argument that medium have more influence on society than the content of media messages. For example, each medium tends to shift the power to communicate and influences the content and character of media. The following are illustrative examples of medium is the message.

Word of Mouth

For most of history, information was primarily exchanged person-to-person as conversation. This was extremely inefficient and tended to create rumors and misinformation. Communities that depended solely on word of mouth were all relatively primitive as complex societies require far more knowledge and information exchange.

Printed Media

The invention of printing allowed for the publication of books, magazines and newspapers. This transformed the world as it greatly expanded the distribution of knowledge, propaganda and news.

Electronic Media

Electronic media such as radio and television allowed information to be transmitted in real time directly into the home. Licenses to do this were carefully controlled such that a small elite controlled all channels. This resulted in limited choice such that people watched the same television shows and news programs resulting in shared experiences and a relatively unified culture at the level of nations.

Internet Media

The internet allowed for point to point communication and democratized broadcasting whereby anyone could start a blog and theoretically reach the entire planet. This resulted in a fragmentation of shared experience and corresponding fragmentation of culture into small subcultures.

Interactive Media

Interactive media such as games tend to be highly engaging. One can imagine a future, where real life can't compete with the attractions of interactive media such that human's become fully emerged in virtual worlds.


The idea that new mediums for communication greatly influence society and culture.


A medium is a means of communicating such as a conversation, newspaper, radio broadcast, television broadcast, social media app or game
Overview: Medium Is The Message
Definition (1)
The idea that changes to communication medium have a far more profound impact than anything that occurs at the level of a communication channel or media message.
Definition (2)
The idea that communication medium tend to shape the content and character of communication.
Coined By
Marshall McLuhan in the 1964 book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
Related Concepts
Next: Digital Media
More about media:
Audience Analysis
Digital Media
Interactive Media
Legacy Media
Marketing Media
Mass Media
Media Analysis
Media Bias
Media Culture
Media Economics
Media Freedom
Media Infrastructure
Media Literacy
Media Management
Media Manipulation
Media Production
Media Technology
Media Theory
Modern Media
Print Media
Traditional Media
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