What is Mass Communication?
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Without mass communication, it's hard to imagine what exactly the world would look like today. Even in the most remote and third-world of places, such communications can be found being utilized. Interested in learning more? Read on for the scoop on this common and wide-reaching art of communication.
A Concept Defined
For the most abbreviated yet straightforward definition of what mass communications are, one needs to look no further than the official dictionary entry - "the imparting or exchanging of information on a large scale to a wide range of people." Basically, this term refers to the use of communications methods that reach massive numbers of people. There is no set number of people that must be touched in order for a communications method to be considered "mass", however, in general, those approaches that reach an audience larger than a single locality, city, or county are accepted as forms of mass communications.
Most Common Forms
The next question one might have is that of how exactly such communications take place. There truly are many forms of mass communications regularly utilized throughout the world. These many forms can, however, be most typically narrowed down to five, simple categories. They are as follows.
Television reaches a massive number of people indeed. Here, one can choose which channels, target audiences, times, and all other factors they would like to affect in airing. Television commercials, media campaigns, and public service announcements are the main tools of the trade on TV.
The radio is one of the oldest broadcast methods that still touches many people. When television, electricity, and other amenities fail, the radio is always there. Like television, the specific channel, listening audience, time, and other options can all be chosen for the best effect.
World Wide Web
The internet is arguably the most far-reaching communications venue used for the mass effect. Here, programming regions, borders, and other boundaries don't exist in reaching a global audience. As a result, one can truly choose the size of their audience, from global, down to local.
The mail is one often overlooked communications tool of the massive kind. Use of the mail also allows for great customization in who is reached as well as who is avoided. The downfall here, however, is that failed delivery, trashing as "junk mail", and other failures to communicate can often arise here.
Outside of mail-out publications, there are many other ways in which physical print is used in mass communicating. Fliers, public posts, publicly available print materials, event handouts, signage, and other manners of publications can be employed here. The problem with this method, unfortunately, is that it requires a disproportionate number of man-hours to keep up with.
Finally, let's take a quick look at the main purposes that fuel such forms of wide-scale communications. Generally, these fall into two categories: to send a message or to advertise. Advertising purposes strictly strive for the end goal of purchases or financial gain. The communication of some other non-sales driven message is the other purpose often found at work behind such broadcasts. A public safety message or emergency broadcast are two examples.
Mass communicating is the art of touching lots of people and sometimes, over great distances. Can you imagine the world without such capabilities in messaging? It certainly would be a different place than that we know and are accustomed to today. These are the basics of modern mass communication.
Related: Affordable Master's in Communications Degree Programs
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