Chapter 8 of this book is entitled “Mediums”:

John Dyer. From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2011. [endorsements]

“The message is the content we transmit from our minds to our audience, while everything that surrounds those words can be considered a medium.” Mediums may include “an email, a handwritten note, a phone call, a Facebook wall post, or any other tool we use to communicate” (p. 117).

Dyer makes three arguments about mediums (pp. 117–31):

  1. “Mediums communicate meaning.” This is evident “in the way we use various communication mediums: formality, difficulty, and speed.”
  2. “Mediums create culture (and cultural divides).”
  3. “Mediums shape thinking.” Two examples: printing press and photography.

Related: Among other things, John Dyer maintains the extraordinarily useful “Best Commentaries” site.


  1. says

    Andy, Thanks for taking time to overview a chapter. Hope you found the rest of the book helpful!

    David, early in the book, I mentioned that I chose to use the term “mediums” as a plural for medium to prevent confusion with the term “media” as currently used for the politically charged news world.

  2. says

    I’m looking forward to reading Dyer’s book.

    I think many (including myself) make assertions about “messages” and “mediums” (e.g., “Changing the medium w/o changing the message”) without ever doing much sustained thinking on what a “medium” actually is and what it entails.

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