Actually, the title was a mistake. When the book came back from the typesetter’s, it had on the cover “Massage” as it still does. The title was supposed to have read “The Medium is the Message” but the typesetter had made an error. When Marshall McLuhan saw the typo he exclaimed, “Leave it alone! It’s great, and right on target!” Now there are possible four readings for the last word of the title, all of them accurate: “Message” and “Mess Age,” “Massage” and “Mass Age.”
Each medium, independent of the content it mediates, has its own intrinsic effects which are its unique message.
The message of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs. The railway did not introduce movement or transportation or wheel or road into human society, but it accelerated and enlarged the scale of previous human functions, creating totally new kinds of cities and new kinds of work and leisure. This happened whether the railway functioned in a tropical or northern environment, and is quite independent of the freight or content of the railway medium. (Understanding Media, N. Y., 1964, p. 8 ).