1 An Essential Worker The word “medium,” according to Marshall McLuhan, “shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action” (9). Without the medium, life would have meaning behind it. If one were to ask the common person what the word “medium” meant, it would be easy to guess the types of responses. However, there are many common misconceptions of this word. McLuhan confirms this by saying “any medium has the power of imposing its own assumption on the unwary” (15). In order to understand the word further, The Oxford English Dictionary will provide primary evidence from the denotations of “media” and “medium.” From the OED, many common denotations appear, such as “a middle quality, degree or condition”, “a person who is supposed to be the organ of communications from departed spirits”, and “any liquid vehicle” used in painting (555). While the definitions above are widely known, some interesting meanings popped up, specifically, “something which serves of exchangeable value” and “a screen fixed in front of a source of light in order to throw a colored light upon the stage” (555). It is interesting to note that these two meanings imply that there needs to be something in the middle running in order for two sides to function. Furthermore, the OED defines media as “newspapers, radio, television” and “middle” (542). Following the denotations, a group of friends and family were given a survey of what they thought the word “medium” meant. The majority of answers received were “not big, not small” (size) and “a spiritual guide,” while some said, “between little and much.” In addition, another group of people were asked what they thought the meaning of “media” meant. The majority of answers was somewhat along the lines of “a platform where people broadcast information to a large audience.” One person’s answer, surprisingly, was “something immaterial, like an idea or emotion.” In other words, he was referring to technology. However, technology is not synonymous with media/medium in any way. A medium is concrete and is something one can physically see, while technology is abstract and immaterial. Therefore, misuses of these words will lead to a personal definition that will help people understand the proper interpretation of “medium.” As a final point, the definition of “medium” is an essential part of something that when combined with other components, make up the foundation of something bigger. The medium in this context is one of the important pieces in the middle that is needed for two sides to cooperate. It may be small by itself, but when combined with all the other smaller pieces, complete the big picture. Without this connection, it would be impossible to perform everyday tasks, such as driving or turning a light switch on, since these tasks require different components working with each other. For example, a train is an essential part when describing transportation, but when combined with other key components like airplanes and cars, make up the whole foundation of transportation. The same thing can be said with an exchange. Money is an essential part when describing an exchange, but when combined with other key components such as value and a bank, make up the entirety of an exchange. Whether big or small, the medium is ultimately an essential worker doing its job behind the scenes of everyday life.