Mass Media: what are the mass media

The term ‘ mass media ‘, in Italian ‘ means of mass communication ‘, was coined in the first half of the 20th century in the Anglo-Saxon context. The sociologist McQuail defined them as means designed to implement open , remote forms of communication with many people in a short space of time. If, in fact, for four centuries the only means of communication between individuals had been the press, it was only with the birth of the telegraph in the early 1800s that men began to have the opportunity to interact immediately with each other even at long distances. This was followed by the invention of the telephone , radio and television, up to the advent of the internet thanks to which it has reached the maximum degree of diffusion of a message worldwide.

Read also:

  • The Mass Media as a social phenomenon;
  • Mass Media and advertising.

Mass Media: the positive aspects of mass media

The mass media, in addition to being technological objects with which users can communicate in real time despite being thousands of kilometers away, are also means of conveying information to citizens all over the world. For this reason, over time, the idea has spread that these tools are necessary for a fully democratic society to develop in which individuals are informed on topics concerning every area of ​​the community, from politics to economics through culture. . The mass media, in this sense, have the merit of raising the level of education of a large number of people, in addition to informing the masses on the facts and problems inherent not only in their own country but in the entire globe.

Mass Media: the negative aspects of mass media

To date, all the mass media can be considered the true fourth power of society as it is fundamental for making citizens truly free and independent. With the ever more widespread diffusion of these means, however, negative repercussions  caused by their incorrect use have emerged . The fiercest criticisms turn to television, a medium which tends to share the same cultural and behavioral models, favoring the depersonalization of the subjects and the consequent general conformism . In recent years it has also been pointed at the Internet: this tool allows you to spread information in real time in every corner of the world, but it is often difficult to determine its authenticity and reliability. Another increasingly worrying aspect is its use as a means of socialization which, on the one hand makes knowledge between individuals easier, on the other it eliminates physical and visual contact. It is therefore important to be aware of the ambiguous power of the mass media: they are not harmful tools in themselves, you just need to know how to manage and use them in a rational and appropriate way.


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