Selasa, 13 Desember 2011

Mass Communication Defined

The word ‘mass’ is itself value laden and controversial, and the term ‘communication’ still has no agreed definition – although Gerbner’s (1967) ‘social interaction through messages’ is too hard to beat. Nevertheless, there is sufficient commonality in widely held ‘common-sense’ perceptions to provide a working definition and a general characterization. The term ‘mass’ denote great volume, range or extent (such as a people or production, while ‘communication’ refers to the giving and taking of meaning, the transmission and reception of messages. One definition (Janowitz,1969) reads as follows: ‘mass communication comprise the institutions and techniques by which specialized group employ technological devices (press, radio, film, etc.) to disseminate symbolic content to large, heterogeneous and widely dispersed audiences’. In this and similar definitions, the word ‘communication’ is really taken to mean ‘transmission’, as viewed by the sender, rather than in the fuller meaning of the term which includes the notions of response, sharing and interaction.

            The process of ‘mass communication’ is not synonymous with the ‘communication media’ (the organized technologies which make mass communication possible). There are other common uses of the same technologies and other kinds of relationship mediated through the same network. For instance, the basic forms and technologies of ‘mass’ communication are the same as those used for very local newspaper or radio. Mass media can also be used for individuals , private or organization purposes. The same media that carry public messages to large publics for public purposes can also carry personal notice, advocacy messages, charitable appeals, situation-vacant advertise-ments and many varied kinds of information and culture. The point is especially relevant at a time of convergence of communication technologies, when the boundaries between public and private and large-scale and individual communication networks are increasingly blurred.

            Everyday experience with mass communication is extremely varied. It is also voluntary and usually shaped by cultures and by requirements of one’s way of life and social environment. The notion of mass (and homogeneous) communication experience is abstract and hypothetical; and where, on occasions, it does seem to become a really, the causes are more likely to be found in particular conditions of social life than in the media. The diversity of technology-mediated communication relationship is increasing as a result of new technology and application. The general implication of these remark is that mass communication was, for the beginning, more of an idea than reality. The term stand for a condition and a process while is theoretically possible but rarely found in any pure form. It is an example of what the sociologist Mark Weber called an ‘ideal-type’ – a concept which accentuates key elements of an empirically occurring reality. Where it does seem to occur, it turns out to be less massive, and less technologically determined, than appears on the surface.


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