Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mass communication

Mass communication is the term used to describe the academic study of various means by which individuals and entities relay information to large segments of the population all at once through mass media. It is usually understood to relate to newspaper and magazine publishing, radio, television, and film, as they are used both for disseminating news and for advertising.

Mass communication research includes media institutions and processes, such as diffusion of information, and media effects, such as persuasion or manipulation of public opinion.

With the Internet's increased role in delivering news and information, mass communication studies -- and media organizations -- have increasingly focused on the convergence of publishing, broadcasting and digital communication.

The term 'mass' denotes great volume, range or extent (of people or production) and reception of messages. The important point about 'mass' is not that a given number of individuals receives the products, but rather that the products are available in principle to a plurality of recipients.

The term 'mass' suggests that the recipients of media products constitute a vast sea of passive, undifferentiated individuals. This is an image associated with some earlier critiques of 'mass culture' and Mass society which generally assumed that the development of mass communication has had a largely negative impact on modern social life, creating a kind of bland and homogeneous culture which entertains individuals without challenging them. However, with the advancement in Media Technology, people are no longer receiving gratification without questioning the grounds on which it is based.[1] Instead, people are engaging themselves more with media products such as computers, cell phones and Internet. These have gradually became vital tools for communications in society today.

The aspect of 'communication' refers to the giving and taking of meaning, the transmission and reception of messages. The word 'communication' is really equated with 'transmission', as viewed by the sender, rather than in the fuller meaning, which includes the notions of response, sharing and interaction. Messages are produced by one set of individuals and transmitted to others who are typically situated in settings that are spatially and temporally remote from the original context of production. Therefore, the term 'communication' in this context masks the social and industrial nature of the media, promoting a tendency to think of them as interpersonal communication.Furthermore, it is known that recipients today do have some capacity to intervene in and contribute to the course and content of the communicative process. They are being both active and creative towards the messages that they are conveyed of. With the complement of the cyberspace supported by the Internet, not only that recipients are participants in a structured process of symbolic transmission, constraints such as time and space are reordered and eliminated.

'Mass communication' can be seen as institutionalized production and generalized diffusion of symbolic goods via the fixation and transmission of information or symbolic content. It is known that the systems of information codification has shifted from analog to digital.This has indeed advanced the communication between individuals. With the existence of Infrared, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, cell phones are no longer solely a tool for audio transmission. We can transfer photos, music documents or even games and email at any time and anywhere. The development of media technology has indeed advanced the transmission rate and stability of information exchange.

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