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The medium is the message

February 11, 2008

“‘The medium is the message’ is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived, creating subtle change over time. The phrase was introduced in his most widely known book, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, published in 1964. McLuhan proposes that media themselves, not the content they carry, should be the focus of study; he said that a medium affects the society in which it plays a role not only by the content delivered over the medium, but by the characteristics of the medium itself.”

Source: Wikipedia

For the longest time people tried to use the Web as a digital newspaper, magazine or a TV channel (as Marc Andreessen nicely remarks). I just think nobody really understood what the Web meant. And although I agree that Web2.0 “is just the Web“, I think this term marks the time where people actually started shifting focus to understand how “the medium embeds itself in the message”.

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