Back To The Future


Now I don’t know much, but one thing I can safely say is that times are changing, especially in the tech-arena. I can clearly recall the day I showed my nanna the brand-spanking new iPhone 3 I was ever so lucky to receive for my 15th birthday. It was a glorious day indeed, the sun was shining and my face was beaming with excitement as I held the perfect, little device in front of my nan. A puzzled look struck her face – I knew she didn’t know exactly what it was, or how it worked, so I continued to explain its specifications and features. I think that had we been in a comic, her thought bubble would’ve read: ‘Oh my dear word! What dark powers have possessed my granddaughter to desire such an odd contraption?’

Being a 21st Century kid, I take for granted the fact that, less than 20 years ago, the technology available so readily, and relied upon so heavily today was non-existent. Instead of asking why my nan is resistant to learning how to open a text message on her Nokia flip-phone, I just chuckle and don’t put a second thought to it. I believe her resistance was caused by the rapid advancement in technology and the form that it has been presented in.

My nan fears technology because:

  • It has evolved exponentially – too quickly for her to catch on or understand
  • She is unaware of what message is being represented as she is unfamiliar with the medium – perhaps if facebook were available in pen and paper form she’d sign up?
Facebooking since '94

Facebooking since ’94

To put it simply, the evolution of technology (therefore the medium) has forced a progression in the message that is being conveyed.  Essentially, as the medium changes, so the message does too. This idea is coined as “The Medium is the Message” by Marshall McLuhan. He proposes that the way a message is communicated effects how it is perceived.

Take Adolf Hitler for example; a man with brilliant skills in oratory. His speeches were delivered to thousands of people at a time with people cramming into the rallies like sardines in a can. Hitler spoke with such authority that he captivated and persuaded his audience. Many say that his public speaking skills were one of the crucial elements that led to his brief success as a leader. I most certainly agree. Hitler believed in the power of persuasion and trusted in the idea that in order to achieve his dreams of nationalism, socialism and all the rest of it, he had to first lure in the majority – this was done through speech.

Hitler speaking at the Nuremberg Rally of 1935

Hitler speaking at the Nuremberg Rally of 1935

“Wisdom is nothing and the majority everything; today, where the ballot of the masses decides, the decisive value lies with the most numerous group and this is . . . the crowd of the simple ones and the credulous.”

–       Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler

Hitler was aware that public speaking was the most beneficial form of communication for his intentions. Think, had he tried to convey his ideas through the newspaper or by radio alone, his message would’ve been undermined, and eventually forgotten. The medium of face-to-face communication resulted in his message being accepted and amplified, and so “the medium is the message”.

For further reference please see below:


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