Tuesday, November 21, 2006

'Medium is the Message'

We have all heard and used this before with a little ease as to how it is construed. I have to say that being in media we throw it around a bit. I guess in some ways its an attempt to gain a greater position at the big table. But I just read a good article on a media post email from Paul Parton a planner in the states. He explains the context (which we have probably heard before) in which the term came about which is a little far from how we currently use it now. I think he sets it up really well to enable a simple comparative to where we all currently sit in the media and communications world (outside just the industry). The world that is breaking away from the institutions that drove the message or content to a social or democratic aspect that everyone has a say. Using the fact that if something really is interesting you dont need to scream it at everyone (like what the TV era did) but drive it to small groups that will in turn deliver it for you for free - if its good enough. Its within an individuals control somewhat.

I think this covers over the strength of Russells comments on a media budget of 0 as the new way that the medium will become the message. Also the move from a passive message to a medium that allows people to include a small amount of their own point of view around the trend of 'people's keeness to approptriate and affect'.

I love Paul's comment that 'ideas have a currency now'. I have often believed that making small ideas for small groups of people can have a greater affect for the mass brand. As long as it really cuts to who they are and what the brand is about. But a lot of clients will say its too small of an audience. But its not just who gets 100% involved, its also the people on the different levels of the fringe and also the perception of the greater mass will have because of it. He highlights the Nike + iPod idea. How many people will actually buy it or use the sound tracks they have created. Its not a mass product. But Nike continue to show that ideas such as these prove that they 'know sport, and know what sports people want/need'. No doubt they will listen to Russell's comments on his Nike + and fix it soon because thats what they are good at.

So let us start using 'message is the medium' in its proper context. I think this shift in the media world towards something more controllable for the individual is the perfect scenario to make this happen and also stop people from using the term badly in the future.

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