In the late 20th Century, mass media could be classified into eight mass media industries: books, newspapers, magazines, recordings, radio, movies, television and the internet. With the explosion of digital communication technology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the question of what forms of media should be classified as “mass media” has become more prominent. For example, it is controversial whether to include cell phones, video games and computer games (such as MMORPGs) in the definition. In the 2000s, a classification called the “seven mass media” became popular. In order of introduction, they are: 1. Print (books, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, etc. ) from the late 15th century 2. Recordings (gramophone records, magnetic tapes, cassettes, cartridges, CDs, DVDs) from the late 19th century 3. Cinema from about 1900 4. Radio from about 1910 5. Television from about 1950 6. Internet from about 1990 7. Mobile phones from about 2000 Each mass media has its own content types, its own creative artists and technicians, and its own business models. For example, the Internet includes web sites, blogs, podcasts, and various other technologies built on top of the general distribution network.
The sixth and seventh media, internet and mobile, are often called collectively as digital media; and the fourth and fifth, radio and TV, asbroadcast media. Some argue that video games have developed into a distinct mass form of media. While a telephone is a two way communication device, mass media refers to medium which can communicate a message to a large group, often simultaneously. However, modern cell phones are no longer a single use device. Most cell phones are equipped with internet access and capable of connecting to the web which itself a mass medium.
A question arises of whether this makes cell phones a mass medium or simply a device used to access a mass medium (the internet). There is currently a system where marketers and advertisers are able to tap into satellites, and broadcast commercials and advertisements directly to cell phones, unsolicited by the phone’s user. This transmittion of mass advertising to millions of people is a form of mass communication. Video games may also be evolving into a mass medium. Video games convey the same messages and ideologies to all their users users. Users sometimes share the experience with each other by playing online.
Excluding the internet however, it is questionable whether players of video games are sharing a common experience when they play the game separately. It is possible to discuss in great detail the events of a video game with a friend you have never played with because the experience was identical to you both. The question is if this is then a form of mass communication. MMORPGS such as Runescape provide a common gaming experience to millions of users throughout the globe. It is arguable that the users are receiving the same message, i. e. , the game is mass communicating the same messages to the various players.
A life without the presence of mass media would seem improbable for many! Let’s read about the pros and cons of mass media and its effect on a larger scale. Mass media enjoys a very prominent role in our lives. There are various effects of mass media on the society at large. Media tends to influence and it’s obvious, there are positive as well as negative influences of mass media. However, it also depends upon the way audiences perceive things. The power of the mass media is by far recognized by everybody in terms of advertising, marketing and as a medium to broadcast information to people at large.
Since mass media is used to communicate and interact with people from various walks of life, it can often result in a conflict of options. Print media (magazines, newspapers, brochures, press releases, newsletters, etc), electronic media (television, radio etc) and the Internet are all part of mass media. Today, mass media can give a person phenomenal exposure and this can result in various effects of the mass media on the society. However, have you paused to think about the pros and cons of mass media? Well, one cannot blame a particular medium because of outside influences.
Here, we shall take a look at such advantages and disadvantages of mass media. Statistics show that there are few things which impact the human mind more than mass media. The advice of teachers, parents and relatives may fall on deaf ears, but the mass media holds us all spellbound! At this point, it becomes necessary to define this concept. It may be defined as any form of communication which is meted out to the people at large, through the various forms of communication. What modes of communication are we talking about? Well there can be no static definition for the channels of mass communication as they are increasing all the time.
But any form of communication which is seen and understood by a large mass of people can be taken to mean mass communication or media channels. Mass media holds a kind of mystique in the minds of the people. It is because the communication is designed in such a way that it appeals to a larger demographic segment. The test of a good mass communication marketing drive is to see if it gets the people talking. If it does, then not only does it mean that the advertising drive has been successful, but the organization in charge of the mass communication is also getting publicity by the word-of-mouth channel!
It is hard to argue with the fact that mass media has a compelling effect on the human mind. Especially on minds which are more impressionable. For example, the influence on our children is understandably higher than it is in adults. There is a burgeoning need amongst the youth to be accepted as a part of a group, to be popular, to have friends and relationships with people of the opposite sex etc. Experts understand this need of the people and hence they come out with advertisements on TV, or in the newspapers, or on websites on how people can be more popular using a certain product.
Most advertisements you see which are aimed at the youth generally talk about the ‘cool quotient’ of the product and how it is going to be the next ‘in-thing’. And if you want to stay ahead of the game, it is absolutely vital that you procure it. The visual effect, seeing the things happen in front of you and the slice-of-life effect makes them look a lot believable than they should be. Mass media, effective as it is, can be used on the youth to drive home pressing concerns in the country. Child obesity, the dangers of alcohol and preteen sexual relations, importance of exercise and fitness etc.
If these things can be done, the media will be able to influence the youth for the better and send better messages for the development of the youth than what it is sending today. Like children and youth, it influences adults too, although perhaps not on the same scale. Most adults with a platonic view of things will resist the temptation of being buoyed up by what entertainment has to offer. While men usually find it difficult to hold themselves back in the face of the allure of sexuality. Other subjects which also appeal to men are financial security and a luxurious hassle-free lifestyle.
Women on the other hand are more tempted towards products which guarantee immunity from aging altogether and not just what the previous generation called ‘aging gracefully’. Mass media can yet be used constructively to teach the adults about the importance of insurance, financial education and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. As you can see, the mass media hold a large share of importance in society, but if used constructively, it can be more of a boon than the bane which people consign it to be these days. After all, there are two sides to a coin and it is up to us to pick the correct one and take it forward!