The Self-Extended Medium

The medium is the message

According to McLuhan the individual and communal result of a medium, an extension of the individual, are the consequences of that each self-extension impacts another. Often medium is interpreted as an aspect of content, digital or physical. We need to stress that rather than content, we are illustrating the wider societal impacts. Therefore ‘content’ is in fact another medium.

For example speech is the medium, it’s content is writing and the content of writing is print. Another example would be surrealist paintings representing the direct embodiment of the unconscious mind. Buardrillard’s (Laughey, D. 2010) hyperreality illustrates that information consumes its own substance, and that the message ‘implodes’ itself within the medium, thus ‘implodes’ in reality. We can draw comparisons to that of the dank meme, in which the content has depleted its original value and represents a vapid idea- the content has become another medium. 

meme 1

We can think of the medium as the message as information imploding upon itself and without any conceptual meaning. For example, the “We Support Our Troops” communication illustrates that criticism towards institutions who send individuals to war, is to display guilt for not supporting soldiers. Failing to ‘support’ this medium produces a biased demonstration, that an individual who is against a particular conflict is also opposed to national security – even if one holds pro-military convictions. Thus the implications of the medium as extension of the self, influence both politically and social movements and institutions.


Non-Hyperlinked References:

Laughey, D. (2010). Key themes in media theory. Maidenhead: Open University Press, viewed 10.03.17


One thought on “The Self-Extended Medium

  1. An interesting appraisal of Marshall McLuhan’s theory. Your use of relevant and interesting examples (such as the ‘We Support Our Troops’ illustration) of McLuhan’s theory in practice added context and depth to your analysis. You used apt academic sources to support your ideas throughout the blog. However, I believe that you should aim for greater concision and clarity in your writing style. At times your sentences and paragraphs seem disjointed and would benefit from further editing.

    Overall, this is a useful addition to the discourse surrounding Marshall McLuhan’s theory.


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