This week’s reading focuses on how technology and media have impacted the world and society. In Chapter 1, ‘The Medium is The Message’ Marshall McLuhan speaks about how technology has changed how we interact and connect with others. McLuhan expresses how technology has divided us. The way we interact with one another has definitely changed, technology has become such a dominant aspect of our daily lives. McLuhan says “the medium is the message” which is how we use it, and communicate. It is the “personal and social consequences” as McLuhan states. He expresses that “any extension of ourselves—results from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology”. In other words, technology has become a part of us, through various social media we learn, connect, share our thoughts, and meet new people. Reading down more in the passage McLuhan made me realize how technology has not only changed how we do things but also how we rely heavily on it. It has been transmitted beyond us and passed our limits.
Everything is now documented on social media, we as individuals can’t go a day without phones or the internet. Many of us use emoticons and gifs to express our feelings and depend on social media to share our opinions. McLuhan used many different views to support his claims. I kind of got confused but I tried my best to grasp what he was saying. In Chapter 7, ‘The Nemesis of Creativity’ the first thing that came to mind was how technology has hindered our creative process. Due to the fact that many people go straight to a tablet, or laptop to start a design. Sketching on paper is often skipped. The use of technology has been integrated more and more into what we create.
The traditional way of creating art is slowly diminishing, as time progresses art continues to be created digitally. However, McLuhan conveys how the artist controls the technology, technology does not control the artist. The people have the power to control technology and creativity. Technology should be seen and used as an asset. We determine how far we want technology to impact our design and work. Technology has its pros and cons to it, in the sense that it has broken down barriers and made it easier to connect. However, its downfall is how much we allow it to dictate our lives. I think this is McLuhan’s main idea and what he intended readers to take away from his readings. We, as creators, have the power to control how much of an impact technology influences our ideas, opinions, and creativity.
Our next readingis a 1969 article by an advertising executive and professor named Arnold M. Barban. It is entitled The Dilemma of “Integrated” Advertising. Here is a PDF: Barban_DilemmaOfIntegratedAdvertising
This article is something of a technical paper, written for ad executives and media strategists. You’ll notice that the terminology is, to say the least, out-of-date. While reading this we should consider the ways that language, tone and biases effect different aspects of advertising.
Your post for this reading will be a little different. Instead of writing 3-4 paragraphs, please identify and document 3-4 advertisements in recent magazines, web pages, posters, billboards, etc. where race, ethnicity, gender or cultural identity play a role in shaping a brand’s message.
Note that identity and race can be used in a seemingly positive, embracing way, or in a cynical, pandering manner; or it may be difficult to tell. The most interesting ads are probably the most nuanced.
Please also use ads that you encounter this week, after completing the reading. We’ve all seen some of the widely publicized missteps from companies such as H&M, Dove, Sony, etc. …These are all very obvious. They really don’t require critical examination and we really don’t need to see them again.
Post phone pics, scans or screenshots of your selected ads with short captions describing the image and the source from which the image was found.
As explained by Marshall McLuhan, the media results from a new scale that is introduced into our affairs. It influences humanity in either positive or negative ways. Considering automation, humanity is negatively affected because the new patterns of human association tend to eliminate jobs. On the positive side, automation also creates roles for people considering the depth of involvement in their work and human association that had been earlier disrupted by mechanical technology. The media also shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action. The content available in media or the use of media, in general, are in varieties. The content displayed and portrayed by the media ‘blinds’ viewers and consumers to the character of the medium. Hence, people tend to reflect a mirror image of what is put out by the media. Finally, the media and technology have been interwoven from the earliest days of human communication. The media has created a seemingly endless amount of airtime for any and every voice that wants to be heard. It allows consumers to bypass traditional advertising venues and allow companies to be more innovative in trying to get the attention of consumers.
Technological progress despite having many advantages also has its disadvantages. For example, technological advancements that are to bring about alleviation of physical stress can bring on psychic stress that may even be much worse. Modern technology no doubt has gained a presence in our lives that it has become so addictive as people are now glued to social media and smartphones to the extent that relaxation and sleep is now impacted. This, therefore, causes even more stress than was present before technological progress came into light. Also, we are too prone and likely to make technological progress and instruments the scapegoats for the sins of those who wield them. The nature of the media is to creep inside participants and consumers unnoticed. Hence, media; a product of modern science is not in itself good or bad but it really depends on the way it is used. The way it is used is what determines the value. If the formative power in the media is the media themselves, a whole lot can ensure that which would also adversely affect the purpose for which the media was created.
If we go back in time, and trace the history of the human culture, it can be observed there is no example of a conscious adjustment in the various factors involved in the creation of new ideas except the efforts that have been put in by artists and designers. An artist works to pick up the message of cultural and technological challenge decades before the transforming impacts are felt. Also, an artist is one who can function in any field; scientific or humanistic and grasps the implications of his actions and of new knowledge in his own time. The artist is vast in knowledge and must possess integral awareness. In other to successfully create new ideas, the artists must be able to correct the sense ratios before the blow of new technology which has numbed conscious and practical procedures. When he notices them, he can correct them even before numbness and subliminal reactions begin to surface. I am sure we all can agree with the saying “two heads are better than one”. In light of this, artists can work collaboratively with one another to ensure fresh ideas are created. When artists work together, they can pull ideas, resources and experience together to create top notch ideas.
The media a designer used to distribute information is only a path to success. The media used is not the final product which brings about positive changes in the thinking of the consumers or positive influences. The final work is responsible for these changes, hence, the work is placed significantly higher than the media which is used to create that information. Again, society is dependent on the outcome of the work put out by the designer, much care is not given to the media through which the output is being made. The designer however may take the media into consideration as it would help to create positive results. Nonetheless, consumers only are attracted to the final output of the process. Finally, the work of a designer is subordinate to the media used in achieving it, because the work is what the consumers feast on. They are usually oblivious of the process by which it was achieved but only consume the final product.
Marshall McLuhan who is the author of the book “The Medium is the Message, “explains how the medium intertwined with our everyday lives. He spoke about the medium as the message and explained that the contents of one medium is also another medium. It is the process of actions connecting to each other to complete the process and is also any new addition to our lives. Technology is one addition that is expanding rapidly and is a breakdown of the quality of many products and the effort of the process. Although it can be said that technology enhances daily life and makes manual tasks easier, it has negative impact on society. The lack of creativity and the desire to create everything quickly has somewhat lessened the quality of the products. The author has given many examples and made comparisons of the old ways of doing things and the new ways with technology. These show that although using technology can allow mass production of goods at a faster pace, it is not necessarily the best way to do things.
Since it is stated that the medium is the message and the content of the message are linked, artists and designers must have a clear vision when creating new ideas to establish that link. There is always an extension to ideas or products which extend the first medium to the next to show the connection. McLuhan gave examples of products from artists and designers that are different but linked to create the message. He said that electric light and power have separate uses, but they are still connected to human being’s daily lives.
As more technology is developed and people become increasingly vulnerable to be more productive, the media becomes a powerful organization. It has a lot of influence on how information is provided to the public. Therefore, designers often used the media to introduce themselves and their work to people. The media create a platform where it not only entices people to the work of the designers but, but designers to adapt the trend of the media to please the media and the people. Often the designer’s creativity suffers as they are no longer individual entities but participants of mass production.
I will be honest: I did not understand much of the reading and I think McLuhan talks too much. Maybe it’s because I am, personally, a believer in the statement made by General David Sarnoff: “We are too prone to make technological instruments the scapegoats for the sins of those who wield them. The products of modern science are not in themselves good or bad; it is the way they are used that determines their value.” I think McLuhan does make some valid points but I’m also left to wonder if I’m truly understanding them at all.
I do agree with McLuhan’s point on that technology has served as an extension of man. He uses good examples in the beginning of his piece with the railway and the lightbulb on how because of these inventions humanity was introduced to new ways of existing. The way we functioned and related to everything from social structures to time and space was changed because of the railroad. Electric light allowed us to completely push past the barriers of working in times and environments limited to light. In this case, I’m assuming the railroads and the electric light are “mediums”. McLuhan explains that because of these mediums we are able to extend ourselves. We can extend our minds, our understanding, our control on reality and our lives.
In Chapter 7, McLuhan speaks of the role of the artist in the adjustment to technology. He states that artists must “move from the ivory tower to the control tower of society”. There is a big sense of responsibility here and I do like the imagery of it. He states that we as artists are responsible for helping form an “analysis” of the technology around us and how it effects us. I can understand to some extent that it is often artists that help visualize and connect people to things happening in the world and how it’s affecting us. I think about how when social media started to become very very popular, it was artists that often helped communicate the feeling of being overwhelmed or the dangers of instant gratification and equating likes to self-worth.
I do not think I understand the concept of “the medium is the message”, however I do understand the concept of technology allowing us to reach a new scale of extension with ourselves and the people around us. Every time new technology is introduced we have a whole new “reach” on the world around us and everything starts to change. The further the jump in technology though the more of an adjustment period is required. I think that holds some truth. Technology in the last 20-30 years has moved so fast and evolved at such a rate that I think a lot of society just can’t adjust as quickly. Artists are often the one to pick up the message and translate it to the world around us. I think that’s a pretty powerful ability that we have. We are sensitive to tonal shifts in ourselves and in society and artists we know how to communicate those shifts into physical/visible mediums that others can understand. The more we do that, the easier it might be for everyone to be aware of the new ideas being shared. We ourselves might be able to introduce a few new ideas as well.
I am actually having trouble understanding the reading. But I will try my best to give my interpretation of the excerpts of Marshall McLuhan’s book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.
To my understand in the first chapter, McLuhan seems to be talking how about how the “message” or “medium” of technology can help us accelerate our progression. For example he states that the railway system did not invent motion, transportation, wheels, roads, or movement, but instead made it easier to go from one location to another, expanding our reach. He also mentions how the medium drives the message. He uses light for an example, when electrical light was harnessed by people, we use it for brain surgery or light up a baseball game at night. He states that this underlines that “the medium is the message” because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action.”
As previously stated I am also having trouble understanding chapter 7 the Nemesis of Creativity of Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. To me he seems to be talking about how does technology fit in human society and how it could change us for the worse and possibly for the better (probably not). Which in my opinion seems to supplement chapter one of the book. For example he mentions how artist are the only people that can avoid the “bully blow of new technology of any age.” I assume what he is trying to say is that artist are able to avoid how technology can change someone and society as a whole while being aware of what is happening as he refers artists as a “men of integral awareness.” Then he compares technology as something a kin to a disease, something invasive. That no one is immune to the advancement of technology. This to me, means the change that technology brings is inevitable and everyone will be affected by it, except for artists apparently.
Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media: The Extension of man. In the introductions of the chapters that were assigned in this week, it can be interpretated as humans been using the technology to goes beyond of the limits that the nature imposed over it. Almost every action that human does carries a meaning, a message. A sound, a pose, a gesture, a look, a movement, all that can transmit a message to any receptor that is in the sphere of that message. And it this message that is transmitted beyond the humans limits that is enhanced by the tools.
The real impact that the medium has, it goes alongside with the occasional impact that the communication and content have. An example of this is one of the daily use technologies that is so popular that little by little, it feels destinated to ends in the hands of every human in the planet, the cellphone. Then, why is this piece of hardware and software is being so widely accepted. The reason is one of the pillars and objective of every technology created by humans. It is to be an extension or enhancement of the different organs and functions, and parts of the body. It means the axe is an extension of the fist, the telescope is an extension of the eye, the megaphone is an extension of the voice, etc. The cellphone is that widely popular because is a condensed of multiples enhancements for the human being. This technology allows us to be transported instantly around the globe to see what is happening thousands of miles away from us. Let us see the past with recordings, increase the memory to remember everything that is need to. Let us hear loud and clear the best musicians around the planet, read book for us. Basically, it expands the human possibilities a lot in case of this extensions could be used properly. This tool uncapped abilities beyond the human limits.
The author of the book states “The Medium is the message”. It means the medium chose by us to be the transmitter hold the same or even a superior worth than that is transmitting.
For this week’s reading, it focused on technology and the media we use to help convey our ideas across. The readings were from Marshall McCluhan’s Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. McCluhan starts off by saying “the medium is the message” which I interpreted as media we use is impacted by the technology accessible to us at any given time. Comparing ideas and products from the past while not understanding what made them work is an uphill battle. Technology was only so advanced at that point in time and so inventors and creators worked with what they had. As technology changes and evolves, so do our ideas. McCluhan then goes on to say that jobs also change with technology and need. So losing jobs is not that black and white as we may think it is. It goes deeper than saying we lost jobs or that “millennials are killing x job market or product”. as our needs change so do our jobs. In the early 1900s when the automobile was barely an idea, we wouldn’t expect Ford to create highly capable cars meant for luxury or speed, we only think as far as what we were taught.
The message of any media will always rely on the content. McCluhan relates this idea to the written word and print media. The media can only do so much but without the meaning or intent of a message, the medium will always be just that. A message carries thought and it serves a purpose, whether it be to inform or persuade the audience. Moving onto another example, he uses electricity spelling out a brand name as something that attracts consumers and is finally notable rather than just electricity. This speaks to the realm of advertising as it basically uses the same medium and example. Putting up an LED screen with no information in it on a billboard spot or on television will not produce any revenue or interest. When there is information whether it be complex or one or two words, it will entice people’s curiosity and in turn, will create web traffic and interest.
In chapter seven, McCluhan is discussing the effects of technology changing has on our social lives. “For the massive social surgery is needed to insert new technology into the group mind.” For me, to rule out any unnecessary anxiety and backlash we would need to bridge the gap between old and new technology. Using the example of a rotary telephone from the 1910s and a smartphone from the 2010s, we simply cannot jump from one to the other, there needs to be familiarity among the items so they can be functional and useful. Taking things slow and reinventing the ideas of what a phone does are important to think about when approached with new technology. Over a century we have refined the idea of a phone through many trial and error including, to landlines, the flip phone, to the sidekick from TMobile, and onto smartphones like the iPhone. And even with all this new technology, we are reverting to the modern take on the classic flip phone, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.
According to Marshall McCluhan in Chapter 1, ‘The Medium is The Message’ I can say that it talks about how media, specifically electric communication has changed society and how we view things. From the reading, I have gathered that he means it’s the way that we receive information that is more important than the message itself. It also shows us that he was ahead of his time and that it’s something that we can relate to in today’s world.
The forms of receiving and communicating messages to one another have evolved and it’s not the technology itself that is the problem because it’s okay to use it as long as we are in control of it and not the other way around. It’s more of how we use it and for what purposes we use it. Aside from that, he briefly talks about how machines are creating jobs but at the same time, it’s eliminating them as well. This is something that we’ve seen throughout the years and it’s something that we continue to encounter. When technology evolves it will always have its pros and cons.
Throughout the reading, he mostly talks about media and the way that it’s changing us and how we look at things. The message that we are receiving from these media has influenced us and often misleads us to what is really important. From when television was first introduced we were once the consumers consuming information by this new technology. Whereas now we are not only the consumers but also we have become the producers by creating information as well.
Reading the excerpt from Marshall McLuhan’s book called “ Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man” talks about how media has changed humans lives, not the content of it but the medium.
In the reading,McLuhan sees that media is communicating its own importance and that content once in a while has a genuine impact on individuals, though the medium has solid impact. Humans especially nowadays rely on the media so much that it became part of their life. For instance, your arm is an extension to your body; it is a part of you and you rely on it for daily needs and purposes. We use our arms and hands to use different tools like using a spoon to eat. The spoon also becomes an extension. This broadens our abilities beyond what we can physically. With technology/media there is virtually no limit to how far humans can extend.
McLuhan famous line from the book states “ The Medium is the Message”. What it basically means is that the medium through which we decide to exchange information holds as much, if not more, worth than the message itself. It is really not the content that is important but it is how we give and receive the content that makes quite the impact. McLuhan believes technology to be the extension of humans, like I mentioned above humans rely on the internet quite a lot even designers. For a designer, the most powerful medium is the internet. For them to design and pass on the message they want convey, is through the internet and internet is the designer’s extension.