The Message Is The Message. Part One.

Insights / 09.26.16 / Arvin Sepehr

The medium is not the message, the message is.

In the 5o years since Marshall McLuhan first coined the phrase, “The Medium is the Message,” a lot has changed in the world. McLuhan’s phrase seems rather prophetic in that these last several decades have been witness to increasingly advanced technologies. With each new method of communication, more fascination pertains to the box through which content is being shared and less to the content that’s actually being shared. While McLuhan’s observation was accurate and ahead of his time, times have changed. The medium is no longer the only message. The message is the message, or at least it should be.

In saying this, I’m clearly unveiling my bias as a content person. While the medium may be part of the message, Content is the King of it. To forget or forego this truth is to, even by omission, accept and deem acceptable the influx of atrocious content that fills most of the pages online and in print. The over-saturation of writing content to inform us about the mediums through which we can receive content is a dangerous cycle that makes not only for a stupid society, but a stupid society that is convinced it’s as smart as the select few who invent machines that put them far above those involved in the stupid society. I’m not a silicon valley genius because I’ve watched every episode of Silicon Valley on a machine invented by a guy who lived and worked in Silicon Valley. I am a customer. And those who believe the medium is the only message or even the second or third most important message are customers as well.

This message merits stating because “the medium is the message” ideology, while particularly useful to those who sell the mediums, is ultimately leading humanity to a culture that has totally cut itself of from all those messages that don’t pertain to the mediums either directly or indirectly. Technology people are often required to be business people and vice versa. So whichever one you are or whatever medium you sell, examine the risk we’re taking here: the opportunity cost is far too high. Those arenas of thought that currently remain “unmarketable” are not to be shrugged to the side every time a new phone comes out. There’ll be more on this in Part Two, but when the dust of hype, fame, and ego all disappear due to the imminently self-sabotaging eruption at Silicon Mountain, we’ll be sorry if we threw the baby and bathwater out to take selfies in front of a bathtub full of bathtubs full of smaller bathtubs.

In summary, content matters. What you say and post should be about more than how someone should buy your machine to say and post how much they love to say and post things on your machine. A media world run by money turns into the carrot on the stick to which we’ve all fallen victim. It’s about more than page-clicks and ad-buys and SEO boosts. If you’re content without good content, you’re nothing more than an already dying Oliver Twist standing punctually at the front of the line at Silicon Mountain, hoping for more of the Just-Enough-To-Keep-You-Alive-But-Nowhere-Near-Enough-to-Help-You-Live mush that is every greedy society in history’s only lesson for humanity. The medium is not the message, the message is. You were meant for more, and you need to start writing, designing, and living like it. And in case you’re waiting for your medium to tell you that, it just did.