Mediums, the vessels in which we deliver a message or the art forms through which we express our values, matter.
You can tell someone the Milky Way Galaxy is beautiful in a thousand different ways, but each way speaks to a different type of audience.
You can create a YouTube video on the Milky Way and could probably attract viewers who are remotely/deeply interested in galaxies and constellations and space phenomena. But you may have a handful of viewers who watch your video because of other features: your narration accompanied by your tasteful wit and humor, your use of high quality graphics, your superb storytelling, your expertise as a premier Stanford astrologist, your creative illustrations to describe complex ideas, or maybe just because you’re hot. Yet, at the end of the day, the main message you wanted to communicate is: “The Milky Way is fascinating. Come be fascinated with me!” But the medium through which you tell your message can unintentionally produce so many more sub (or meta) narratives, such as “Astrologists can be hot!”
If our end is to reach to the broadest audience possible – using all kinds of mediums – then we’ve prioritized production over human connection. We’ve compromised the second we feel the need to reach an undefined, sizable mass. We failed to pick a target audience from the outset, and thus failed in our choice of medium. Some of us may just want to throw our hands in the air and yell, “But I don’t care about the details!” That’s the thing – we may admit we don’t like the details, but we do care about the details – at least the ones that matter. And this is true for our audiences. Details are embedded in the medium, whether we like it or not. Details tell the story – the ones we want and even ones we don’t want. The medium matters.
Or, maybe I should have just told you upfront: The medium always shapes the fucking message, goddammit. But I don’t want to attract the wrong kind of audience.