From various understanding of communication according to the experts it can be concluded that what is meant by communication is the process of delivering a message carried out by the source or sender of the message to the recipient of the message. As a process, communication is supported by several communication components in order to work. The components of communication in question include people (senders and recipients of messages), messages, media or communication channels, interference, and feedback. Communication can occur in various communication contexts , one of which is mass communication .
What Is Mass Communication?
Not a little understanding of mass communication according to experts that we have understood. Here are some of them.
- Bittner (1980) defines mass communication as a message that is communicated through mass media to a number of people.
- Gerbner defines mass communication as a production and distribution based on technology and institutions from the flow of messages that are continuously and most widely owned by people in industrial society.
- Jalaluddin Rakhmat (2001) defines mass communication as a type of communication aimed at a number of scattered, heterogeneous, and anonymous audiences through print or electronic media so that the same message can be received simultaneously and for a moment.
- Dictionary of Media and Communications (2009) defines mass communication as a communication system that reaches massive numbers of people. Mass communication is also interpreted as the process of planning and sending media texts to the mass audience.
- Ronald B. Adler and George Rodman (2017) define mass communication as communication consisting of various messages sent to a wide audience and spread through broadcast media (radio, television), print media (newspapers, magazines, books), multimedia (CD -ROM, DVD, internet, etc.) and other media such as films and recordings.
From the several definitions of mass communication above, it is concluded that in general mass communication is defined as the process by which a person or group of people or a large organization creates a message and sends the message through various types of mass media to a large number of people who are widely spread, anonymous, and heterogeneous . In a mass communication system , the source or sender of the message is a professional communicator or a large complex organization. However, in the digital era as it is now marked by the presence of the internet as a communication medium it has been possible for anyone to send messages to large numbers of people in a short time.
In addition, messages transmitted to a wide audience through various forms of mass media such as newspapers, magazines, films, radio, television and internet are usually of a general nature and are carried out simultaneously. The term mass refers to a large number of people who are widespread and do not know each other and each has a different background. As is the case with interpersonal communication or interpersonal communication , in the context of mass communication there is also what is called feedback. It’s just that feedback in mass communication is indirect and delayed.
The various characteristics of mass communication contained in some of the above meanings also simultaneously show the advantages and disadvantages of mass communication. Here is a brief review.
The advantages of mass communication are as follows.
- Mass media
One of the elements of mass communication that is the main characteristic of mass communication is the use of mass media as a tool to disseminate messages to a wide audience quickly and momentarily. The mass media system is a very complex system that involves a variety of technologies, rules and regulations, codes and ethics, business interests, and social responsibility. According to McQuail (1969) the mass media have special features including the following.
- Mass media is usually managed by a very complex formal organization.
- Mass media is directed to a wide audience.
- The mass media is public or public and therefore the contents of the mass media are open to anyone.
- Mass media audiences are very heterogeneous.
- The mass media establish momentary contact with a wide audience who live within a certain distance from each other.
- The relationship between media personalities and audience members is indirect.
- The audience is part of mass culture.
- Goalkeeper or gatekeeper
Another unique characteristic possessed by mass communication is the presence of the goal keeper or gatekeeper. What is meant by gatekeepers are those who are responsible for selecting to make decisions about the types of information that have news value or what types of news are worth publishing through the mass media. Thus, the function of gatekeepers in mass communication in general is to determine the information that will be conveyed to the public.
- Messages are general, can be duplicated, and sent quickly and simultaneously
The next strength of mass communication is related to messages. In a mass communication system, messages are general, can be duplicated, and sent to the public quickly and simultaneously.
- Message is general in the sense that the message is addressed to anyone and not addressed to a particular person.
- The message of mass communication can be duplicated or reproduced so that it can be communicated through mass media to a wide audience. For example, messages intended for broadcast media such as radio and television, are processed and made in various forms such as talks, interview interviews, documentation, and so forth. Meanwhile, for print media such as newspapers or magazines, messages are processed in the form of articles, feature news, and so on.
- With the help of technology, mass communication messages can be sent quickly and simultaneously to a wide audience.
- Mass audience
Mass communication is meant as communication aimed at the masses as the recipient of the message. Therefore, in mass communication, the recipient of the message is also called an audience or mass audience. Audience characteristics in mass communication are broad, heterogeneous, and anonymous. Heterogeneous containing mass meanings have different backgrounds.
Anonymity in mass communication means not knowing each other and not being known by the sender of the message. And, broad implies that the mass audience is in various places or widespread and not concentrated in one place. This characteristic has implications for mass communication messages delivered by the sender of the message.
- The sender of the message is institutional
In contrast to interpersonal communication or interpersonal communication where the sender of the message or communicator is an individual, the sender of the message or communicator in mass communication is an institution or media organization or a professional working in a complex institution or media organization. Examples of communicators in mass communication such as editors or editors, or other sources who express ideas or ideas through the mass media.
The shortcomings of mass communication include the following.
In contrast to interpersonal communication systems where the feedback given by the recipient of the message to the sender of the message occurs directly, in the mass communication system the feedback occurs delayed or indirect and indirect or indirect. In a sense, the sender of the message cannot know the audience’s reaction directly after the audience receives the message sent.
New feedback can be known when the editor or editor receives a letter from the reader for example. And after the editor or editor receives public curry feedback in the form of reader letters, the new editor or editor gives a response back to the reader letter submitted and this also requires time that is not instantaneous. However, along with the development of communication and information technology, feedback has become easier than ever before.
- One-way communication
The flow of communication in mass communication systems takes place in one direction. This is due to the mass communication messages addressed to a wide spread, heterogeneous, and anonymous public so it does not allow the process of direct interaction between the sender of the message and the audience.
- Limited sensory stimulation
The next lack of mass communication is the limited sensory stimulation. As has been understood together that the stimulation of the senses in the mass communication system is very dependent on the type of mass media used to spread the message to a wide audience. For example, when we want to read news in newspapers or online media, we need eyes to see and read the news text and photos that are presented. Another example is when listening to the radio, the sensory organ that is needed is the ear. Another with television media, the sensory devices that we need are the eyes and ears because television media including audio visual media.
- Interference cannot be avoided
In mass communication, interference that can occur in the form of technical problems related to the technology used and semantic interference. Technical problems can occur because of interruptions during the message transmission process. On print media, technical problems can be in the form of typos, typographical errors or misquotations, and so on. If this happens, usually the editor will submit an apology and correct the news that has been presented. Whereas in broadcast media, technical problems that often occur are the interruption of the message before it is received by the recipient of the message.
Semantic interference in print media, for example, is related to language. Occasionally, news that is conveyed to the public uses technical terms that are not generally understood by the general public, for example, news about the Poso earthquake some time ago which popularized the term liquefaction. This term is then discussed by competent speakers in their fields and reporters or news readers re-communicate the meaning of the liquefaction with language that is easily understood by the public. This is very important considering the mass communication audience is heterogeneous in terms of education, experience, educational background, and so forth.
- There is content selection by the public
The sender of the message is indeed entitled to determine what information is valuable news and worthy of being presented to the public. However, the audience also has the right not to receive all messages conveyed by the sender of the message. Often, audiences only receive messages that suit their needs. Thus there is a selection of message content carried out by the public and this is discussed thoroughly in several theories of mass communication, especially the theory of the effects of mass media including the theory of selective processes in mass communication , micro theories in mass communication , and theories of individual differences in mass communication .
Benefits of Learning the Strengths and Weaknesses of Mass Communication
Studying the advantages and disadvantages of mass communication can provide several benefits, including the following.
- We can know and understand the meaning of mass communication.
- We can know and understand the advantages and disadvantages of mass communication.
Thus a brief review of the advantages and disadvantages of mass communication. Hopefully it can add insight and our knowledge about mass communication related to the advantages and disadvantages.