Fakebook and other mediums

There were many things about last year’s US Presidential Election that were unprecedented or at least very interesting.


Besides Trumps affinity for Batman references, one of the most interesting developments was the way in which the Trump administration used Facebook as a key part of their election campaign. Yet founder, Mark Zuckerberg still argues that saying Facebook had an influence on the election results is a “crazy idea“.

So why do we not understand the true impact of Facebook?

“The Medium is the Message” – Marshall McLuhan


It’s a purposefully confusing statement.  According to McLuhan the “medium” is really another word for anything that is an extension of ourselves. So a knife is an extension of an arm, a Justin Beiber t-shirt is an extension of our sense of social identity (or bad taste).

While the “message” is defined as “the change of scale or pace or pattern” that is caused as a result of a new medium. This refers to the changes a medium brings to our social context. So the message of a Game of Thrones episode is not the endless amounts of blood and sex that is shown on TV, but perhaps the change in your understanding of whether a person can only be good or evil.

So when McLuhan states that “The medium is the message”, what he’s really trying to say is that the very nature of anything we create can cause unnoticed changes in both our personal experience and the world around us.

Back to Facebook

Untitled design

Facebook is a perfect example of how a change in mediums can change the way we interact with each other. Although originally intended as a Harvard social-networking website  this platform is now quickly becoming for many people the preferred method of keeping up to date with news.

Although an unexpected consequence this has become a concern for many – as seen during the previous US Election. As said by Mark Federman, “noticing change in our societal or cultural ground conditions indicates the presence of a new message, that is, the effects of a new medium.”


13 thoughts on “Fakebook and other mediums

  1. Hi Mara, I think this is a fantastic blog post, the structure was clear and concise and it perfectly combined text, images and a video. You explained the concept of “the medium is the message” well based on the interpretations made by McLuhan, as well as with your own personal viewpoint on the topic. I like how you discussed this within the context of politics and also social media usage. My only piece of constructive criticism is to perhaps reduce your word count in order to let your digital remediation convey your ideas, however I do understand that in this case it was important to use your written piece to expand upon your thoughts further. If you are interested in exploring further into the topic of “the medium is the message”, and its relation to social media usage, check out this article I found: http://theorion.com/62393/opinion/twitter-the-new-political-weapon/

    Also feel free to check out these two blog posts I wrote, one briefly expands on your point of Mark Zuckerberg thinking that Facebook had little impact on the results of the 2016 election: https://alexandermastronardi.wordpress.com/2017/03/12/media-audiences-the-data-behind-our-social-media-usage/#more-68

    While the other discusses “the medium is the message” and its link to politics: https://alexandermastronardi.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/the-medium-is-the-message-and-politics/#more-116

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment. Yeah I have a tendency to write too much – something to work on. I’ll make sure to check out the blog posts you mentioned! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The use of Facebook as a key example allows this post to be easily relatable to the vast majority of modern day society. This is then complimented by the use of various forms of media including the short video, and the meme. The structure of short paragraphs was very effective too. Also, the odea of the use of Facebook as a contributor to Trunp’s victory is something I haven’t come across, so thanks for bringing that to light!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brilliant interpretation of “the medium is the message”, I found this post quite helpful in grasping the meaning of the phrase – especially with the use of meme and video as it’s visual and sends the message quicker! I like how you incorporated your own interpretation of the meaning, however if I had any recommendations it would be to be more concise with your post – though all in all it was one of the best I have seen as you incorporated a wide variety of sources including your own. Here is an article I’d like to share with you, as it relates to the medium as the message and how you have interpreted it including Facebook as an example. http://humanumreview.com/articles/wittkower-facebook-and-philosophy


    • I had a look at the article – it was pretty interesting. I liked how the author wasn’t trying to argue either way if Facebook was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but that like any tool it has both positives and negatives.

      As for being more concise with my own writing, that’s a skill I need to work on 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really love the clear, concise nature of this post. You conveyed your message quite effectively through this medium ;). Your use of video and meme also make your point even clearer, as does breaking down your post into 3 distinct sections that all link up at the end.
    Heres a very helpful video that I found that I based most of my post on and I though that you may like it too

    It uses a different example to yours (facebook) but it’s still relevant I feel.
    Keep up the good work.


  5. Hey Mara, boy you’ve chosen the right topic to get swamped with replies haha.

    I reckon Trump’s use of social media last year outstripped any and all chances of other people contesting with him. Call him an angry old orange faced racist if you want, but his knowledge and ability to use social media has put him miles ahead any grey haired politician contesting him.

    Hilary could have brokered a deal with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, or Bernie could have had the cure to cancer in a vial on his mantlepiece, but the way that Trump curated his internet fame was one of the biggest advantages he could have had. If this crazy political system continues to survive, I reckon we will be seeing more competing not only in polls or presidential debates, but the battles will be fought over social media, and boy, you think the memes in this decade are good….

    All seriousness really enjoyed reading this. Solid work

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This post is super interesting! It’s almost ignorant of Zuckerberg to say Facebook had no impact on the election, this is the platform where young people receive news from as let’s be honest, you don’t see too many ‘opinionated’ Facebook users picking up newspapers, they only read biased Facebook articles! I think with the overpowering dislike for Trump on social media those who favoured him kept their head down, ultimately leading to such a surprise when he did win. The medium here I think is being used incorrectly, the message is outshining the medium and users are using it for evil rather than good. Really brow raising post, I definitely feel I have a better concept of this topic now!

    Liked by 1 person

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