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Geheime Korrespondenz (secret correspondence), by Carl von Bergen
A headstone message in the Jerusalem British World War I Cemetery on Mount Scopus

A message is a discrete unit of communication intended by the source for consumption by some recipient or group of recipients. A message may be delivered by various means, including courier, telegraphy, or an electronic bus. A message can be the content of a broadcast. An interactive exchange of messages forms a conversation.[1] The consumption of the message relies on how the recipient interprets the message, there are times where the recipient contradicts the intention of the message which results in a boomerang effect. [2] Message fatigue is another outcome recipients can obtain if a message is conveyed too much by the source. [3]

One example of a message is a press release, which may vary from a brief report or statement released by a public agency to commercial publicity material. [4] Another example of a message is how they are portrayed to a consumer via an advertisement.


Roles in human communication[edit]

In communication between humans, messages can be verbal or nonverbal:

  • A verbal message is an exchange of information using words. Examples include face-to-face communication, telephone calls, voicemails, emails, etc.
  • A nonverbal message is communicated through actions or behaviors rather than words, such as conscious or unconscious body language.

The phrase "send a message" or "sending a message" is also used for actions taken by a party to convey that party's attitude towards a certain thing. For example, a government that executes people who commit acts of treason is sending a message that treason will not be tolerated.[5] Conversely, a party that appears through its actions to endorse something that it opposes can be said to be "sending the wrong message",[5] while one which appears to simultaneously endorse contradictory things can be said to be sending "mixed messages".[6]

In computer science[edit]

There are two main senses of the word "message" in computing: messages between the human users of computer systems that are delivered by those computer systems, and messages passed between programs or between components of a single program, for their purposes.

Safety and privacy concerns[edit]

Safety and privacy concerns have been expressed in the computer science industry regarding messages. There have been cases where instant messaging apps were found to present a risk of spyware infection.[7] Text messaging is one of the larger causes of distracted driving, and the act of texting and driving has been made illegal in many states as a result.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carney, Dan (2009-04-08). "Dashboards meet the 21st century". Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  2. ^ Zhao, Xinyan; Fink, Edward L. (2021). "Proattitudinal versus counterattitudinal messages: Message discrepancy, reactance, and the boomerang effect". Communication Monographs. 88 (3): 286–305. doi:10.1080/03637751.2020.1813317. Retrieved 2024-05-24.
  3. ^ So, Jiyeon; Kim, Soela; Cohen, Heather (2017). "Message fatigue: Conceptual definition, operationalization, and correlates". Communication Monographs. 84: 5–29. doi:10.1080/03637751.2016.1250429. Retrieved 2024-05-24.
  4. ^ Tsai, Wan-Hsiu (Sunny); Lancaster, Alyse R. (2012). "Message Strategies in Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Advertising: A Content Analysis Using Taylor's Six-Segment Message Strategy Wheel". Health Marketing Quarterly. 29 (3): 239–255. doi:10.1080/07359683.2012.705708. Retrieved 2024-05-24.
  5. ^ a b "Send a message definition". Cambridge English Dictionary. Retrieved September 24, 2023.
  6. ^ Marie, A. (November 8, 2022). "A Mixed Message is THE Message". Medium.
  7. ^ Sunku, Durgaprasad (2019-11-01). "Hyderabad: WhatsApp is vulnerable to spyware attacks". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  8. ^ "Distracted Driving | NHTSA". Retrieved 2022-10-09.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Messages at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of message at Wiktionary
  • Quotations related to Message at Wikiquote