The Social Benefits of Mass Communication
Mass communications, like anything for humans, has its advantages and disadvantages, but mass media has far more advantages to offer the world. From taking you to a far off land to teaching you about the intricacies of the life inside a colony of ants, to surfing the Internet for a new chat group to join, we learn and experience things and events that no humans ever before in history have experienced through this miracle we call mass media. This paper will explore the multifaceted and unique areas of the public’s perception of mass media, the educational value of the media, and the Internet as a new mass medium.
The public has always had an interesting relationship with mass media because it is the public that is breaths life into this organism called the mass media machine. From the earliest time periods in human history mass media was communicated through “word of mouth,” and it was that very relationship that spawned small town gossip in the middle ages , where information like what the local lord was doing and if he was hanging anyone that week for insubordination. Word of mouth continued until the invention of the printing press in 1436 when the news of the town could be told and recorded forever. A present-day survey taken about what the public’s view on the media is from the article, “Who Do You Trust and Why?,” by Joe Saltzman says that “... the public’s use and view of its media, shows that word of mouth is less trusted than CNN, public television news, local television news, and prime-time TV news magazines. News anchors American’s see on television are considered more reliable as sources of accurate information than personal acquaintances” (par 3). This article shows that after the advent of the press people find that a recognized news source rather than a personal contact is trusted more. People feel that they can trust someone as long as he stays credible and they feel positive because of that fact. Another positive benefit that modern people have as opposed to their ancient counterparts is that citizens who get their information from trusted sources as CNN, local news casts, public television news, and TV news magazines usually end up better informed and more accurately informed than those ancient immigrants and peasants from their word of mouth reporting (Saltzman, par 11).
Still connected to the public’s feelings on mass media today we come to a recent survey of young adults which is also a very quickly informed and Internet savvy group. The survey, “Survey Asks Young Adults About Media Use,” of 22 to 34 year olds by BBDO New York in a periodical called,The Quill, tells about some positive ways that media affect people. In one quote describing the Internet's impact it says, “The young adults used the Internet for escape and mental stimulation and to obtain specific information on travel, business and health issues. Users were perceived positively as young...