“The medium is the massage”

Marshal McLuhan was a great theorist for his time. He is responsible for some of the earliest discussions about media culture and its impact on society. “The medium is the message” is one of his most famous sayings (which was mistyped as “The medium is the massage” while printing; McLuhan liked this typo and decided to leave it). He believed that the impact of the medium through which the message is received is much greater than the message itself. For example, the impact of the Internet on our view of the world is much greater than the content on any social media or website available online. Because of the Internet, we are able to do a lot of things that we couldn’t do before – view news around the world almost instantly after something happens, communicate with people without living our houses and in any place on the Earth, freely share experiences, and many more other things. We became more united as a society around the world, and all that could be possible because of the Internet invention and development itself, not a particular content found there or any other medium invented before. I think that this concept is interesting, and I do believe that the Internet (or any medium) has a greater impact on us as a society than the message delivered through that medium.

Another very interesting concept that McLuhan discussed was “cool” or “cold” and “hot” media. He defined “cool” media as low-definition media that requires participation and absorbs more than one sense, and “hot” media as high-definition, linear media that absorbs one sense. I think that the most interesting examples of “hot” vs. “cold” media that McLuhan discussed were tv and movies. In his opinion, television was “cold”, while movies in a movie theater were “hot”. At that time, television required a lot of effort for setting up in order to view something. In contrast, to view a film in a movie theater, you just had to come to the closest theater, sit, and enjoy watching. But it is also important to remember that McLuhan developed his theories quite a while ago and a lot has changed since then. Today, I believe it is much harder to tell which media is “cold” and which is “hot”. And with the example above, it is difficult to call tv a “hot” media because, with today’s technologies, much like a movie in a movie theater, it requires almost no effort.

Thus, we can say that Marshal McLuhan’s ideas are still relevant, but they need to be adjusted to the level of technologies we have today.


Hey there! I am glad you came ~

Welcome to my Blog! My name is Ekaterina, but you can call me Kate if that’s more comfortable 😉 I am a third-year Graphic Design student at Oregon State University.

I am originally from a small city in Russia. So, I’ve never imagined myself studying abroad. And all this is still new to me, but I enjoy it so much! When I first came to OSU, I anticipated studying Food Science and Technology as I graduated from a Medical High School and was a professional swimmer. I thought it would be a perfect major for me (damn, I was wrong!). At that time, I had no idea what Graphic Design was.

After the first term, I realized that Food Science and Technology is not my thing at all. So, I discovered a GD major, which looked appealing as I was interested in design and fashion before. Now, I am still discovering my specific interests in such a broad field (and it often changes). I am currently interested in animation, identity design, environment design, and photography.