For those of my subscribers that don’t know me personally, I am a Master Degree candidate at Marist College. It took me 13 years post undergrad to finally take the plunge to apply for and begin this program. Why, you ask? It’s the change thing… I hear it’s a good idea, but for the longest time, I wasn’t totally convinced.
The reason I bring up change and grad school is because for the next eight weeks, the concept of Eat, Love, Paleo is going to change. The eighth class in the Masters Degree series is Social Media Strategies and Tactics. This class will change some of the topics and dialogue of this blog. We don’t mind though, because after all, change is good right?
For my first non-food blog post, I want to talk a little about Canadian philosopher and Professor Marshall McLuhan. In his day, he was regarded as a well-respected media critic; personally I see him as more of a media psychic. He all but predicted the invention of the Internet with his “global village” theory, and his paradox, “the medium is the message” has changed the way I interpret colloquialisms and popular expressions.
One of the metaphors he gave is the role of the book, how it’s changed, no longer has sole control of our thinking and knowledge; we are no longer just a literary man! As part of the global village, today we have the ability to interact with and learn from persons we’ve never met, companies we admire, inventions like podcasts, online forums, YouTube “how to” videos, and the list goes on; we are now in the age of the tribal man. One contradiction though is McLuhan’s theory that the making of this global village or tribe is ridding us of individualism or that people are [going to be] no longer concerned with self-definition. On the contrary, I think new mediums such as LinkedIn and Pinterest are allowing for just that, the showcase and broadcast of individual tastes, preferences and talents.
Medium is the Message:
I think this theory is a great example of how we shouldn’t always be focused on the obvious. It matters not what you say (make, build, or invent) specifically, what matters is the environment and the effect on that environment. What new media has done is created a new environment, we’re in the predicated age of evolution and rather focus on the obvious (i.e. the message itself), the focus now should be on how and how often it’s delivered, its effect, and change (there’s that word again) as a result of the way its translated, communicated, or delivered. In other words, the car is not a medium, the medium is the highway, the car factories, and the oil companies; the medium is the effects of the car even being here in the first place1.
Marshall McLuhan’s foresights not only hold true today but also will continue to be seen as the evolution of media continues. I imagine if he were alive today, he’d show up to work everyday with a big fat grin on his face wearing a cool t-shirt (that he ordered online of course) bearing the words, “I told you so.” And the coolest part, we get to discuss his prophecies as a global village of people on a medium he told us was on its way over 35 years ago. The irony!
Quote and Image Sources:
- Image: http://pastormattblog.com/2010/12/22/the-medium-is-not-the-messsage-but/