Media Definition and how it affects us
Media of every form surrounds our days and we are blasted from every side, affecting every sense, from the beginning of our day, until we go to bed. That’s a lot of media exposure but in today’s world with our electronic environment, not even a blog post is immune from being used as a way to redirect our thinking or buying patterns. In its essence media is the tool with which we communicate with our neighbors, customers, family and friends, across distance, time and space.
We can add to these forms of communiqué, digital media that drives social media on our smart phones, cell phones, and the internet. If we are going to cover the myriad forms of media, as well as mass media that is used by companies and other factions that are interested in us, we must look at all of the forms of media to understand them and their effect on our lives.
Media Definition in All of Its Forms
Media has become the catch phrase that lumps all forms of this communication vehicle into one group. However, media has different forms and methods of getting a message across to the group that they want to impact. Media definitions include:
- Media – as a noun means the plural of medium. While usually used with a verb, it indicates the means of communication, as radio, television, newspapers and magazines that reach or influence a wide group of people. When used as an adjective, the definition of media is, anything pertaining to or concerned with such means.
- Social Media Definition – is the interaction between people where thoughts and ideas are communicated in virtual communities and networks. Facebook, Twitter, and Blog chat rooms are forms of Social Media.
- Digital Media Definition – relates to audio, video and photo content that has be digitized for use on a computer after it has been encoded for such use and enables us to share different media forms into our social media environments.
- Mass Media Definition – includes medium of communications, such as newspapers, television or radio) that is designed to reach masses of people. Both social and digital media have become the vehicle used by many mass media distributors.
Looking at media from this perspective, you can see that you are bombarded daylight to dark with information that is designed to illicit an action on your part. Whether that is buying a product or giving to a cause, like a product or video, or participating in a discussion about current politics, all forms of media are directed with a target in mind.
Mass media uses all forms of media to communicate with the masses. From direct mails in your mailbox, to direct mails to and from your email account, large organizations target individuals based on interest in a product or issue. The definition of mass media and its history came into its own, in the period from 1860 and 1930, when the development of still and moving photography, the telegraph, wireless telegraphy, telephone, radio and television appeared. At this time, the avenue for media distribution went from being a two-lane dirt track to a paved two-lane road.
The advent of digital media has turned the two-lane road into an interstate highway system, enabling marketers to target individuals with mass media influence and the evolution of the definition of Social Media. This has led to markets that have not been easily accessed, thus taking business into the Global market. Who would have thought thirty years ago that you could easily develop a business that you could run from your home? With the simple ownership and command of a computer and internet connection, mass media strategies used by big corporations have become possible for small businesses when you throw digital media into the equation.
The Influence of Digital Media on Society
Many studies have been conducted on the influence of mass media on us as a society. Digital and social media have expanded mass media to a level that could not have been conceived in the 1900’s and has had a great deal of impact on society as a whole. The incessant bombardment can become overwhelming and the clutter so thick from information that making a decision can become more difficult instead of easier. Information overload can be stressful and mass media can add to that stress.
Media research has expanded enormously since the 1960’s, with most attention going to television as the most pervasive medium (D. McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory, 1983). How quickly things change. The advent of the internet and digital media has put that media research on steroids and everything that you do with your credit card, debate card or ‘Like’ vote on your favorite social media site becomes a piece of research data to be hashed and rehashed with the goal of influencing your decisions as the main thrust.
A two edged sword, mass media via digital and social media can be a boon for businesses or for those who wish to distribute their message concerning a social cause, which is what it is designed to do. However, the massive invasiveness of digital media has led to so much information coming at individuals so quickly has redirected social convention.
How many times over the last few months have you seen a group of people together that are more focused on the Smartphone than the group they are with. It is not uncommon behavior today but twenty years ago such behavior would have been frowned upon as being rude and is thought by some to be so today.
Information Reaching People Farther and Faster
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s most advertising for local business was sent out via print media and may only be produced on a weekly, bi weekly or monthly basis. Today’s business owners can blast an add to hundreds of customers informing them of today’s sales and specials, enabling them to capture a share of the local and global market that was not so readily available fifteen years ago. The speed with which many gather information can lead to an overload if not managed properly and understood.
Social media reaches one in four individuals on a global scale, the opportunity for expanding your social presence is only limited by the ones who are not a part of the global social network that has now surpassed two billion people. However, since there are 7.1 billion people on the planet 6.6 million of them have cell phones the opportunities for businesses to take advantage of this booming technology are endless and limited only by ones imagination.
Managing the Social Media in Your Life
Many of you have heard about individuals who fire off a tweet, or an e-mail in a fit of emotion, only to regret what they have done 30 seconds later. Actions such as these can be relationship and career killers. Using social media responsibly can be a valuable tool, but used improperly it can lead to lost friends.
Since social media is a global media tool, minding your manners in a global setting is wise if you wish to continue your business dealings. Using social media wisely in your personal, public and business life can save you much embarrassment or termination from your job due to something you said to face book.
Children are the ones who are most at risk and parents should be aware of the social media that is being used by their children. Monitoring your child’s online friends and activities may elicit a complaint from your child, but you have the right to not only know what they are doing, you need to know what others out there in the global internet have in mind for your children.
Not Just for Good
Just as the use of mass media and social media has been used for the advancement of business sales, and communication of ideas, it has also opened up a completely new avenue for fraud and crime. By knowing the dangers, as well as the wonderful uses of media, in all of its forms, you will become more responsible when using this medium of communication. Making yourself aware of your children’s use of social media can also help you keep them safer in the global digital age that we live in.
Controlling the influx of constant media barrages into our lives, can help us use it to advance businesses, causes and ourselves. The ease with which information can be sent to a host of people has enabled everyone that uses digital media to expand their exposure. How that exposure is used, and how it affects your life and those around you, is up to you.
The definition of media today is as it has always been, but the advent of hand-held technology that takes social media, into our homes has become a new and defining part of media.