McLuhan’s famous phrase, “The medium is the message”, says that the message is not important but, how the message is delivered to the masses. Think about how different 9/11 would be if we had to read it out of a newspaper and not be able to see it live on television? I will never forget sitting there at my high school watching the planes crash in the two towers. I felt like I was standing there in New York among all the spectators watching the towers crash to the ground.
Now lets take this same example and compare it to if we heard about the attacks over the radio? Sure we would receive most of the same information, the same speeches, and the same reports of what has happened but, we would not be able to see it. Our mind would paint a picture of the what was going on around the towers at the time but, would the time be as memorable? We would not be able to recount the massive dust clouds that hit from the towers crashing to the ground.
Looking at both of these mediums imagine how different the changes would be after 9/11? This was one of the driving points of Mcluhan’s message with every new medium the world changes around it. Social culture, ethics, technology, etc.
One of the biggest examples I can think of is twitter. People used to keep diaries or journals for all their thoughts and feelings. Now thanks to the new electronic age and the medium of the internet people can post any thought, idea, picture, or feeling they may at a moments notice. This has caused a massive shift in how we function as a society.
News channels use this to help spread the news faster, television shows use it to take polls of the shows they have and adapt them to the votes of the people, political campaigns now have to have tv spots, twitter feeds, facebook pages, and a website. Now taking a look back at the 1920’s most political campaigns would have to print tons of posters, pass out pamphlets, and hold multiple Q&A sessions.
The content stays the same but the medium is always changing. With every change to a medium comes a new change to society.