The medium is the message

The form generates the content. The manuscript creates the kind of information that can be conveyed.

The reader becomes the mesage. The author becomes the reader. The consumer becomes the product. The product becomes the message. And the message is the medium. And we’re back.

Technology is never just a tool. It is also a kind of being, although we may not always see that. As a kind of being, it generates new technology, which in turn becomes a new way to see and do and be. A technologically advanced society is not just better at doing things, but it is a society which does other things, and constantly finds new ways to do new things.

We are slow to realise that a new technology goes beyond solving an old problem. It also posits a new problem and offers a (usually insufficient) solution, often taken up by a new round of technology innovations.

The printing press is often seen as bringing relief to the need for the growing demand of late-medieval books. Once invented and disseminated, it created new ways to see, which created new problems to which it may today be insufficient: organisation of knowledge, permanence, democratisation, cost-efficiency – challenges which the digital medium takes up.

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