“The Medium is the Message”
According to popular belief, the application “Instagram” is used to share photographs with short captions amongst friends and other program users, is it not? Being an Instagram user myself I can raise a hand and agree with this condensed brief. However, this is simply the mediums main function, to congregate consumers with a love of sharing their lives through images… it says nothing of the mediums message, which also has a lot to say for itself.
The theory that the “medium is the message” (M. Mcluhan, 1964) describes a platform that not only acts with a sole purpose, but also has a message in itself and it’s most basic form. Mcluhan found this idea in the way that consumers focus on the obvious, they see a platform for what it does, and look past what it says.
Instagram’s appearance for example is derived from the influence of the polaroid camera. Each image on the consumers stream is shaped as a square, and has a small gap underneath to write a caption. The application logo itself is the image of a polaroid camera. Instagrams name can also be interpreted as “instant” which highlights its purpose to upload images instantaneously to the platform for users to view.
Taking these simple but overlooked facts it can be made more clear as to why a consumer would chose to use the medium above any others, with access being so readily available and functions so immediate.
Within the idea of “the medium is the message” there is the topic of convergence which is linked to consumers and their active involvement with the platforms. Convergence represents shifts where consumers are stimulated to seek information and “make connections among dispersed media content” (The New Orleans Media Experience, 2003). It doesn’t occur through media platforms, however appears between the social interactions of users, turning “consumers to prosumers”.
Mcluhan, M, 1964. What is the Meaning of the Medium is the Message?. Mcluhan Program in Culture and Technology, [Online]. 1, 1-2. Available at: https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/324564/mod_resource/content/2/Federman%2C%20M.%20-%20What%20is%20the%20meaning%20of%20The%20Medium%20is%20The%20Message.pdf [Accessed 13 March 2015].
The New Orleans Media Experience, 2003. Worship at the Alter of Convergence . A New Paradigm for Understanding Media Change, [Online]. 1, 3-5. Available at: https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/324565/mod_resource/content/2/Jenkins%2C%20H.%20-%20Worship%20at%20the%20altar%20of%20convergence.pdf [Accessed 13 March 2015].