The Media (big M, not the medium, sorry Marshall) is the message – corrupt, liars, tyrants, and they proved that they have more power than any president…bend over America or prepare to lock and load. That’s the simple message. McLuhan back in the day coined the rather cryptic phrase everyone thought was so inciteful. Now it’s become a bromide catch phrase that “the Medium is the Message”. Huh. I guess I didn’t smoke enough dope to make sense of it. Even today, no one could actually explain it with any sense of clarity. Hot messages required less sensory involvement – print or radio. Except when I’m listening to Beethoven over my radio system with all the bells whistles woofers and tweeters – it’s a sensory overload! Cool messages required more sensory involvement – TV or telephone. Not clear on that one either. Yes, if you actually want to communicate over a phone, you must participate, but most of the time, I’m not doing much of anything when I watch the Tele. But there were lots of drug usage at the time in major colleges, so they took it to be a work of profound importance. And of course, with the advent of the Internet, everything has profoundly changed. I’m not so sure how important the Medium is, but I’m damn sure that today Social media Tech Tyrants and the the half dozen or so Media Oligarchs are! So what is social media and a Monopolistic Print, Internet and Broadcast media by McLuhan’s standards?
McLuhan recognized each medium as an extension of a particular human faculty with the “media of communication” simply the amplification of a particular human sense. “The wheel is an extension of the foot. The book is an extension of the eye. Clothing, an extension of the skin,” said McLuhan. So, what exactly does that make social media?
One person I read said that social media is the extension of natural human desire to connect with others at a personal level. That’s the PG-13 explanation. But the R and X rated reason is it ultimately is a big trap using the average person’s vanity and ego, to entice him or her or in the case on non-binary carbon units – him/her to document things that sane people used to keep private, and social media didn’t require a “Big Brother” or a Hitler to motivate the masses – just let the masses spill their guts to us for a chance to get a like or positive emoji. All it took was just vanity and ego for the Tyrants and the Ruling Class to convince the masses to obey and in the process make billions – hell, trillions, (Google’s market cap is well over a trillion) – and ultimately to have more power than all but a handful of countries on the planet. Of the 180 or so countries on this fragile blue marble, only 16 have a Gross Domestic Product over a trillion dollars. Now that is power. And when Tyrants have power, to quote my former boss at Cisco Systems John Chambers – “We simply want our unfair share of the market”. Those of us who saw our stock price soar and our bank accounts grow – were all in! Monopoly is power. They have it and there are no Teddy Roosevelts in sight to bust up the Trusts, the Oligarchs, and the Monopolists in Big Tech or Media Crime Oligarchies.
Back to the question of the medium (small m) itself. Good question. Of course, there’s a bit of truth to the notion that different types of media impact the way a message is perceived or understood. No doubt, as we speak blogs are being replaced by Vlogs (video blogs) and I’ll have to start commenting via video to get anyone to see my “message”, since even smart people are too busy to actually read. They need audio books or visual blogs to explain things to them, to take in all the propaganda and garbage the Ruling Class is feeding us. And the reason is simple. All successful tyrants know this – control the message. Brainwash the people. Freedom is a luxury that only the elites can afford. The serfs must be controlled. And now, as Orwell predicted, enough people in a free country have been turned into sheep. Baaa. Trump Russia. Baaa. America racist. Baaa. Only Black Lives matter. Baaa. Don’t wear masks. Baaa. Do wear masks. Baaa. Lock down your business or die. Baaa. More ODs than Covid in SF. Pay no attention. Baaa. Although Gavin Nuisance, Nanny Pelosi and hosts of others scream – do as I say (not as I do)! Baaa. So, while the serfs tear each other apart, the Ruling Class is in control. A few thousand telling 350 million what to do and getting outrageously wealthy and powerful in the process. Not quite as good as the few hundred that tell a billion and a half Chinese what to do, but it’s a start!