Search This Blog

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Medium is the Message (Again)

As I keep on saying, “The medium is the message”

NEW YORK — The members of Occupy Wall Street are not allowed to use megaphones, so they’ve adopted a low-tech workaround.
At their twice-daily general meetings in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan’s financial district, whoever has an announcement to make speaks slowly and clearly, with a pause every few seconds, so that everyone within earshot of the speaker can repeat back what he or she just said — amplifying it for the crowd of hundreds to hear. (Huffington Post)

 The medium is the message.

OWS’s “workaround” for the megaphone ban has had a profound – and enormously positive  -- effect on the success of their movement. It is, in effect, a new medium for mass communication. 
Like any medium, it has its advantages and disadvantages.  And, obviously, it does take time for a speaker to get his or her message across.
But…. (And this a huge “but”!)

a.)    Speakers must reduce their speeches to core ideas
b.)    To maintain continuity, the messages need logical consistency so one phrase follows naturally from another
c.)    Each phrase needs to be clear so as to to be easily repeated
d.)   Repetition is made easier by chanting
e.)    Listeners have to really listen in order to sync with others in the chant
f.)     In so doing, each individual identifies with the group
g.)    Group identity and repetition of core ideas increase belief in the core ideas being expressed

The medium is the message.

Simply speaking, the audience for one of these speeches cannot be passive – they must act -- and interact .  The crowd is the medium; and amplifies each idea presented to them,  not only for the ears but for the mind. 

For thousands of years, people have chanted.  In the beginning was the word and the word was made flesh.  “I think there I am?”  To say something is to think it.  And when a lot of people say the same thing at the same time?    Religious people, the Marines, and soccer fans all chant for a reason – it gives them power.    Chants are basic to all shared belief systems, in fact to any group that wants to do something.

The medium is the message.