MASS COMMUNICATION – AN OVERVIEW
MASS COMMUNICATION – AN OVERVIEW
Communication – sending of a message from one person to another,
in simplest terms - has been
one of the oldest characteristics of human life. Even when
formal languages were not available, people were
able to make each other understand their feelings and gestures
to accomplish routine tasks.
There is no trace available as when the languages came into
being, the communication among people,
however, got on faster track than before with the availability
of formal languages in the form of symbols,
gestures, body expressions and words. Since those times the
communication has been shaping into different
forms and is supposed to be the key element in creation of
different subjects and passing on experiences of
one generation onto the next.
Starting from sending and receiving information amongst few
individuals to high number of people, the
communication is now well classified into different categories.
Although main focus here is the mass communication, it is
pertinent to understand some basic elements,
fields and concepts of elementary communication before entering
the very complex and widely exploited
world of mass communication.
Basic Concepts of Communication
Well, the world communication has its origin in the Latin word
COMMUNIS which stands for
common or to create commonness with the people around you. This
is possible when you share your
feelings and ideas with others.
According to commonly used definition, communication is transfer
of message from sender to receiver
through a channel. It is understood that speech or utterances in
the form of voice, were the initial stages of
communication which gradually developed into a defined form of
language when all the people of a
community got to attach specific meanings to the voices and
It might have taken centuries to mankind to enter the stage of
writing its messages on stones etc. But once
writing was developed as one mean of communication there had
been attempts to find some material to
write on, which was more sustainable and easy to take along in
travel. Using bark of certain trees for this
purpose, the endeavor led to invention of paper, thus
revolutionizing the early days’ communication.
Writing on paper by hand must have brought joy to people for
sending their messages across to many
others, after that, the invention of printing overwhelmed
efforts to give new dimensions to communication.
This further led to setting up a whole new printing industry
world over followed by modern means of
communication, which will be discussed in detail in this course.
Why need communication?
The foremost reason to communicate to others for the human
beings in particular is their own
survival. There is hardly any sense in believing that a person
can all alone live a life by fulfilling its daily life
needs. The fact is that every next moment a person is dependent
on others to survive. Hence it is inevitable
for all of us to bank on communication.
There is a very genuine instinct in all the living creatures to
cooperate with each other to keep the
cycle of life running. Humans need this more cautiously as to
keep their hard felt sense of superiority.
Feeling of keeping a range of relationship from an individual to
family and tribe was strong from
early days of human civilization. It would have been extremely
difficult to promote a life style without
acknowledging the relationships among people living together for
sometime. Communication was essential
to identify relations among people to accomplish different
Communication proved handy in the course of persuasion and
influence others to keep the human
civilization grow. The task is done even today, though, with
different techniques and in a rather complex
world of communication.
Better communication helped people and tribes to command power
over others. This phenomenon
is more evident in the fields of conflict and to bring the enemy
down. To muster support by using better
communication skills has always been the hallmark of human
Social needs grow with almost the same pace, human culture and
civilization nurture. History
stands as testimony to the fact that the circle of human social
needs expands as people try to live together in
more organized manner. Communication is the common most thing
which knit societies to fulfill their
desire to rise jointly.
In more advance world, as it is today, it is a piece of
information – a piece of communication,
which brings relief to human living in a score of ways.
Information about roads, condition, may help you
change your traveling plan, for instance. A small bit of
information may have a life long impression on your
And not the least, in present day affairs communication goes
long way in helping us in decision
making. Not an individual alone, but families and nations, can
draw certain conclusions with the help of
available communication on certain matters which is likely to
improve the overall living standards and a
more secure life for all of human beings.
Major Fields of Mass Communication
The main field of mass communication has been to inform people
at large about things which are
in their immediate interest. This includes the vast area of
news, views and current affairs. Apart of specific
nature of news etc. people are also informed about entertainment
which may include sporting events, music
or recreation. To educate masses is also part of mass
communication by exploiting all the means at hand to
address a distant and high concentration of individuals.
Although this area of mass communication has assumed new
dimensions in the modern world,
keeping relations with various types of public has its traces
from ancient history. This area has proved handy
to organized and corporate sectors, which have a defined purpose
to achieve by keeping relations with
audience of their choice.
Publicity, which is more known as advertising, is definitely an
outcome of modern means of
communication for it largely depends on the technology being
exploited to address masses for purely
commercial purposes. So enormous has been the impact of
advertising through means of mass
communication that a huge advertising industry has come up
offering tens of thousands of jobs of different
nature to people across the world.