The medium is the message
Sir: In his piece about the tech-savvy Labour party, Robert Peston writes: ‘A party’s values and messages matter. But in today’s digital Babel, they are probably less important than how the message is presented and to whom it is communicated’ (‘Corbyn 2.0’, 18 November).
Some of your readers may remember the late Marshall McLuhan who in the 1960s coined the phrase ‘The medium is the message.’ I’ve always thought this to have been prescient for its time and it has become ever more pertinent. It is an enormous downside to the digital age that the means of transmitting data is more important than its content.
Sir: Robert Peston’s piece on elections and social media was sensationally well written and researched. He made one wrong assumption, though: that every ‘follow’ on Twitter is an endorsement of the politician or party’s views. I followed Mr Corbyn on Twitter in the run-up to the 2017 election to receive regular updates on his policies and views, as well as to get out of my social media echo chamber. Of course, the more followers Corbyn has, the greater likelihood that his views are retweeted. But many of his base are there for intrigue and at times irony.
Sir: Toby Young (‘It’s a jungle in there, Stanley’, 18 November) is wrong to warn Stanley Johnson of the ‘complete absence of intelligent conversation’ on the set of I’m a Celebrity. On my sojourn there in 2014, the only other graduate was Tinchy Stryder, a rapper, son of Ghanaian immigrants. He talked me through the social development of modern music; we got to Dizzee Rascal before he was voted out. Michael Buerk, former BBC Africa correspondent, spoke of Robert Mugabe and Nelson Mandela; Vicki Michelle, actress and wicked mimic, gave us ’Allo ’Allo! and other shows.