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Effects of Mass Media

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 576
  • Category: Media

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What were the major developments in the evolution of mass media during the 20th century?
Major developments in the evolution of mass media during the 20th century included several things. Mass media is a means of communication that is designed to reach a wide audience. Media fulfills several basic roles in our society. It can act as a springboard for our imaginations, a source of fantasy, and an outlet for escapism. Media provides us with entertainment, information, education and acts as a public forum. It can also be used as a watchdog for government, business, and other institutions. The 20th century brought about the radio which exploded in popularity because it was less expensive than telephones. In the 1920s Americans were the first to play electric phonographs, use electric vacuum cleaners and listen to commercial radio broadcasts.

The television would be the next big thing to hit American households. By the end of the 1930s Americans were watching color films with full sound. Cable television became available in the 1980s and 1990s. The late 1990s brought digital video recorders. Another major development in the evolution of mass media was the computer, wireless communication and the Internet. These have all had lasting and significant effect on American culture. The internet is a major means of communication. It is fast and can reach millions of people within seconds. All of these evolving media technologies have changed the way we relate socially, economically, and politically. Through all these advancements in technology we can reach billions of people with just the touch of a button bringing the definition of mass media to a whole new level.

Lule, J. (2012) Exploring media and culture (1st. ed.) Irvington, NY: Flat World Knowledge, Inc.

How did each development influence American culture?
Culture generally refers to the shared values, attitudes, beliefs, and practices that characterize a social group, organization, or institution. A useful aspect of media is the ability to act as a public forum for the discussion of important issues. People can voice their opinions in newspapers and other periodicals. Letters to the editor allow readers to respond to journalists or to voice their opinions on the issues of the day. The internet also allows everyone who can get online the ability to express their opinions through blogging or podcasting. When the radio was introduced it had the ability to allow huge numbers of people to listen to the same event as the same time. It was a boom for advertisers, who now had access to a large and captive audience.

The television caused the gross national product to double in the 1950s and again in the 1960s. The American home became firmly ensconced as a consumer unit, which contributed to the nation’s thriving consumer-based economy. Both England and Japan saw a boom in sales before important royal weddings in the 1950s. Electricity altered the way people thought about time because work and play were no longer dependent on the daily rhythms of sunrise and sunset. Wireless communication collapsed distance. The internet revolutionized the way we store and retrieve information. The computer would give immediate access to all the information needed for school work from first grade through college and allow communication and social relationships. The implementation of new technologies does not mean old ones vanish it just means that they got better.

Lule, J. (2012) Exploring media and culture (1st. ed.) Irvington, NY: Flat World Knowledge, Inc.

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