In today’s society, we are run by social media and alternate news sources. The presidential campaign was a turning point in my personal views of social media. Our current President of the United States, Donald Trump, constantly brings up the idea of “fake news.” Although I do not fully agree with his statement that the news is never right, I will agree that social media allows for different facts and statements to be skewed in a way that leaves viewers with an altered mindset. During the election, I decided to delete my twitter account because I could not stand to read different people’s strong opinions on the presidential candidates.
Marshall McLuhan, author of Medium is the Massage, understood the media before his time. In his novel, he argues that technology is changing society and the way people think and behave. He is not necessarily talking down on the advancements in technology, because the medium is the message. To McLuhan, it is not essentially the message that is put forth, it is the way that it is brought to us. He introduced the idea of the emergence of a “global village” and the unification of people through these technologies. During his time, there was no Twitter, Facebook, or instantaneous ways of finding news. McLuhan’s ideas, although presented before our time, are completely relevant. The way that information is brought to us, the medium, is more important than the message itself. McLuhan writes, “Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication” (McLuhan, 10). He further argues that, “All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered” (19). This is interesting because we do not understand how engulfed our lives are, in technologies. We use technology for everything. He believes that these technological progressions are inevitable, but not necessarily bad. These technologies unite humanity into one big global village. Me deleting my twitter account during the election was stupid according to McLuhan. For it is not what I was reading, but the fact that I could read what my second cousin who lives in Krakow, Poland was writing, instantaneously.
This idea is different from Birkets who believes that these progressions in technologies are diminishing our language and the idea of literacy. McLuhan uses the word “outdated” when referencing older news sources which would frustrate Birkets. The Medium is the Message tells the story of our technological advancements uniting humanity into one big global village, while the writer of the novel didn’t even know the power of social networking in place today.
McLuhan, M. (1967). The Medium is the Massage. Corle Madera, CA: Ginko Press Inc. .