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Remember Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium Is the Massage? Many who became educators in the 1960s might.

I wondered about what I would be reading when it was assigned in one of my college educational media classes. I and perhaps others thought, “What does massage have to do with educational media?” The title was supposed to have read “The Medium is the Message” What happened is explained at the McLuhan site.

My classmates and I had no choice; the reading was assigned and grade impacting quizzes would be given. How many of us would have glanced at the title and picked it off the shelf had it not been part of our professor’s mandatory reading list?
If asked a contextual question today, I’d probably give only a random guess in response.
However, I think about it when someone comments on dress, medium or other presentation issues. Things like, he should be in a suit – how can he preach dressed so casually or he went to Sturgis on a Harley – how can he be trusted to advise on our investments.

I know a hiring manager who would only give a prospective engineer a minute if the job seeker showed up in casual dress. A job seeker I know never got an interview from a paper resume. When the seeker started using the internet to submit personal and training data the seeker’s qualifications were noticed. Same data – different medium – different message (qualifications) perceived.

Unfortunately, some never get past the title or artwork on the cover of an author’s work. And sometimes similar titles get confused, for example: Girl from the Train and Girl on the Train. One of the title characters is not a girl by common definition. However, the ‘on’ book got better marketing than the ‘from’. In fact, when I was telling about my reading ‘from the train’ I got the comment from several, “You mean on the train, don’t you?”

So now I know the marketing program for The Medium Is the Massage was far more important than the title to its sales and influence of its content.

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