Mass Media Developments and its Influence on the American Culture
Mass media is a collection of different kinds of technologies that reach a large number of people via mass communication. Mass media is a term used to describe all types of institutions that share information to large number of audience. The institutions of mass media differ in scope, method, and cultural context in their information sharing. Mass media is a criterion of industrialization in a country. The most industrialized countries contains advanced and various types of mass media. Mass media covers news, advertisement, music, opinion, internet, prints, audio recording, and other mass communication. However, mass media has gained major changes in the 20th century.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the mass media comprised of curious periodicals and newspapers. The world relied on the newspapers and magazines. The main events, news, and different types of information could be accessed through the two media prints. At the end of the 20th century, the mass media consisted of televisions, radio, internet, and an array of media prints. The changes were numerous and by the end of the last century, people could communicate all over the world immediately. The breaking news could be accessed live through the television (Quint, 2001).
Radio was the first change that dominated in the mass media in the 40’s. People could access news faster in comparison to newspaper. The World War II was in progress and people could desire to acquire the news more frequently. Ten years later television dominated the mass communication industry. People could see moving pictures of what was happening unlike the newspapers and radios. The introduction of the space travel gave the television power to communicate events in the whole world when the communication satellites were put in the orbit. The satellites gave birth to 24-hrs news stations that could project various effects happening all over the world. At the end of the century, a newborn media was born called the Internet. The internet created platforms where people and information could be linked together through computer terminals (Quint, 2001).
At the beginning of the century, the print technology was very slow and knowledge could spread slowly to the population. This type of media influenced the culture of the Americans where they could no longer rely on teachers and storytellers to acquire knowledge. The evolution of radios in the American society brought a quick access to information. The news updates became frequent and people could listen to world events through the radio. The culture of educational system was changed by use of radio in the classrooms, which later faced rejections. People could gather in evening for the purpose of entertainment from music or radio programs. radio has a power of influencing people’s opinions on the world, religious, and political views (Quint, 2001).
The information age that started with television, which led to computers, satellites, and smartphones has various effects on the American culture. This era led to access of global information in the world. People came linked together by use of internet and sharing of information was quick and easy. People started seeing themselves as equal because the poor and the rich could access same information through these platforms. People became independent on choosing which platform to use in accessing information. Communication became instantaneous and people could no longer wait for letter to be transported and be delivered (McCombs, 2013).
Media convergence is the aspect of merging of content through various media types. For example, using the internet to read an e-newspaper or an e-book. Also, media convergence is interpreted as the a single corporation owning and operating different types of media platforms. For example, an institutions that operates a television channel, radio, station, newspaper, and a blog page. Media convergence has given employers a chance to utilize their few employees maximally. Also, the population can use one media platform to acquire another. This allows good circulation of capital by using two media platforms at the same time. Also, uniformity in the information portrayed in the different platforms gives the audience reliability of the information. However, this aspect may reduce diverse ideas and opinion on an event when most channels broadcast same information (McCombs, 2013).
Media literacy is an important tool or skill to media consumption in many ways. It gives an individual ability to filter the false information from the true and relevant opinions. A person acquires empowerment on the type of information being distributed. Media literacy gives the American population the power to make wise media choices that translates to health mental, emotional, and physical state. It allows children to acquire a global culture and thrive in the universal activities. It equips the adults the skills to discuss the media aspects with their children including expectations and consequences. It gives the audience the control on the influences of media on their lives. They limit their chances of becoming vulnerable to negative influences of media messages (García-Avilés, Kaltenbrunner, & Meier, 2014).
Media literacy gives the population the necessary tools to acquire the right characters, attitudes, and personalities from films, entertainment, and educational programs. It offers students an opportunity to be wise consumers, managers, and responsible producers of opinions. It opens the mind of the audience to the reality in the media environment. Finally, it gives people critical thinking skills in interpreting media contents (García-Avilés, Kaltenbrunner, & Meier, 2014).
García-Avilés, J. A., Kaltenbrunner, A., & Meier, K. (2014). Media convergence revisited: Lessons learned on newsroom integration in Austria, Germany and Spain. Journalism Practice, 8(5), 573-584.
McCombs, M. (2013). Setting the agenda: The mass media and public opinion. John Wiley & Sons.
Quint R., (2001). A historical overview of the effects of new mass media introduction on magazine publishing during the 20th Century. Retrieved from: http://firstmonday.org/article/view/885/794.