Mass media is a force to reckon with in the modern world, and as way definition, mass media can be referred as the diversified technological channels that are meant to reach a large audience. Broadcast mass media uses film, radio, televisions, recorded information and the digital media which uses both the Internet and the mobile mass to disseminate information. Newspapers also form the mass media and use printed material to transfer information. There is a huge need for businesses and organizations to access a large audience, and for this reason, mass media becomes the most preferred choice and means of communication globally.
The study of mass communication has led to the need to have theories that divulge more into it. For this case, some of the theories have been formulated that describe objectively mass media and how this channel of communication functions. Some of the theories that have been formulated include identification theory, the tri-component theory, and the hot and cool media theories. To fully understand mass media, these three theories are going to be dissected. These theories explain how mass media functions and how it connects with the audience in ways that they appeal and attract the mass audience to whom communication is meant for.
Mass Media's Effects on Users
The audience connects with the mass media when the characters in the media appeal and connects with the audience. Most of the successful characters in mass media today have displayed the ability to connect deeply with the audience. This is no mean fete as it requires thorough planning and strategic implementation. One of such is by stirring empathy in an audience. The success of mass media relies on its ability to reflect and bring out stories in a way that shows an understanding of what the general mass feels about the story brought forth. There is also the cognitive aspect in identification theory. This is a vicarious means through which emotions are shared between parties. In the case of mass media, the cognitive aspect revolves around the ability of the mass media to recognize and understand the emotional state of the audience. This is what deeply connects the audience and the media used for the propagation of information.
The theory of uses and gratification seeks to understand how media influences the everyday life. As suggested by Blumler and Katz, media users have a huge influence on their choice of media (Blumler and Katz, 1973). The goals of the users have a bearing on their choice of media. This is based on the idea that users seek media that orients well with their goals and aspirations. As a way of example, someone seeking daydreaming or fantasy can choose to read romantic novels. Users tend to pick the media which effectively meets their demands. The desire to acquire information is a strong driving force that determines the choice of media because of the cognitive needs that users have.
There are also affective needs which users may have and for which can dictate the media that the user is going to take. A perfect example can be that of an audience with high stimulation needs which will dictate the user to go for a media that meets their needs. Human beings are social beings, and for this very reason, they always show an inclination towards seeking a media that will build better bonds between them and friends, family or colleagues. Tension may arise in some situations and such cases; users will rush towards finding solutions for that tension. Provided that media has the upper hand over the others in diverting or relieving pressure, then it easily becomes the most preferred media channel for the user.
There is also the theory where media viewed as either hot or cool. These two models offer data in senses that are different to the user. Hot media for this case is described as one which presents data to the user in extremely high definitions and also in visual patterns. Cool media, on the other hand, is described as those that gives emphasis to passing information through the ear. A strong emphasis is put on audio data presentation to users. It goes without saying that a vast difference exists between the two media in the sense that hot media do not leave a lot to be explored by the user but rather it presents data in completion. For this reason, hot media has a little participation as compared to cool media which records a rather high attendance.
Mass media is a rich source of information for it is for this reason that it has several functions. Learning is one of the essential functions of mass media because scholars can easily access the rich information on the mass media. Learning in mass communication takes different forms. One of those forms includes observational learning. Psychologist Albert Bandura suggests that observational learning depends on how behaviors and attitudes can are altered by observing other behaviors and attitude in a mass media like the television. An experiment done by the same psychologists showed that people are more likely to pick behavior and attitudes that they learn through a mass media platform.
Observational learning arises from different user needs. One such need is the urge to release and intense relief. One strategy of doing that is through the use of art or music as some form of psychotherapy that highly encourages the discharge of such feelings. Stimulation as well can be an encouraging factor behind the observational learning. Effective learning is said to occur when the senses are sufficiently stimulated (Laird, 1985). Research work that has been undertaken in the past has shown that 85% of the knowledge that a significant number of adults hold was gained actually through the stimulation theory. Many factors including the environment can stimulate learning.
Sensitization theory as well can explain the process of learning in the mass media. Here, as a way of example, if an individual watches extremely violent reactions in a movie, then their response can be so immense that they are very much unlikely to reenact that same behavior. Sensitization works effectively on people who possess high scores of empathy. This fact is based on the idea that people with empathy are more likely to identify with the victim who experiences either suffering or pain in the scene. The violence that is seen in the news is known to impact more on the viewers than that which they see in movies.
Viewers at some point in time show reduced or diminished emotional response to scenes or incidents that are considered to be negative. The reduced response typically happens when individuals have are exposed to the same negative behavior or attitude over an extended period. This process instills an observational learning trait where an individual fails to respond to violence or any other negative behavior because of a reduced emotional responsiveness brought about by exposure. Such a degree of unresponsiveness can is referred as a comfortably numb situation where an individual entirely fails to respond as a result of repeated exposure to violent scenes in the mass media.
The mass media also acts as an agent of socialization. The mass media influences how human beings socialize. Every mass media platform presents a different means through which social interaction is going to happen. Each of these present various modes of communication. The mass media is known to have a tremendous impact on the development of infants. Its impact does not stop there. Fully grown human beings view the mass media as a platform through which they are going to interact either by exchanging ideas or just for socialization benefits. Because the media has a huge impact on our behaviors and attitudes, then it can also be said to have an enormous bearing on the way we socialize. In a more immediate situation, human beings exhibit social behaviors as a result of repeated exposure to social events in the social media.
The mass media has several known effects on its users (Bennett,2003). These results relate to the cultural effects on an individual or the mass audience, attitudes and the behaviors that will be exhibited by the audience after exposure to some of the media messages. There are mixed effects that the social media present. These are based on the assumptions that suggest that the media does not suggest to the people how they should think. Instead, the messages presented in the media encourage some existing beliefs that already exist.
Other effects include the inhibitory effects. Not all effects result in change, however. Mass media affects its audience in different ways. Inhibitory effects persuade the audience to sensitize and be very responsive to situations. Through this outlet, the audience sees the media as a means through which they can access positive information and data. Because information is brought out in a more positive light, the audience is more likely to avoid negative scenarios and violence. An inhibitory effect encourages the audience to be more aware of situations. With the ability to identify situations, it becomes very easy to deal with any negative media message that may have been presented in the media.
On the other hand, disinhibitory effects sensitize the audience to be very selective in the way they view information and messages in the media. This disinhibitory effects may lead to the audience acting more violently that they would have normally done. This is because the audience views the messages in the media as a justification to practicing violence or any other negative behavior or attitude. This is because of the desensitization effect that the media has had on the audience. In most cases, these disinhibitory behaviors are exalted in disinhibitory by rather admonished in the inhibitory aspect. The audience may like a character and try as much as possible to behave the same way as the character in the mass media.
Whether written or broadcast, the mass media reaches a wide audience. Mass media has a huge influence on the public ( Bennett, 2003). For this reason, mass media possess power because of its ability to disseminate information effectively. One of the reasons why mass media has power is because it is the primary tool for socialization. The new force of socialization is the mass media and this has been attributed to the fact that it has a huge listening audience. Through all the mass media channels, the delivery of the message is very effective, and in most cases, it is easily understandable. This gives it power over the other forms of communication.
The mass media also possess the power to develop and nurture core values in the society. The mass media mold the way that behavior and attributes in a society are developed. It is because of this power that the mass media can be used to inculcate and instill positive core values in the society. Many people may be ignorant to the ways that mass media is having an impact but when we look at films and video games, we realize that the mass media has had a huge impact on the world culture. A perfect example is how the mass media acts as a way of influencing the culture and attributes of the youths.
The mass media also instills a sense of belonging. The world revolution that is currently being experienced has allowed us to interact freely in the social mass media platforms. We can now communicate anything in any place that we choose. Because of that power, we can now feel a sense of belonging. We easily identify with a certain group of people who we tend to share the same kind of information. The mass media also presents a platform where users can relate with one another. This can be an online platform for information exchange or it can be radio interactions. Such platforms create a sense of belonging to its users.
Mass media is also known to possess several types of power. One of its power is based on its ability to act as a pla...
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