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Fundamentals of communication,

Mass Media & social media: stone inscription, printing process

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The Role of attitudes in human communication: defining attitudes

Nowadays mass media and social media of communication in what has been termed as the 'Information
Age' proliferated to an extent consider by conservative critics as 'science fiction' and unimaginable
realities only a few decades ago. Indeed, if you readers of this book are either young men and women
studying in a middle school or college or enrolled in a university degree program, or you are more mature
individuals surely you would consider it impossible to think of a day in your life without the plethora
of communication media you take for granted and use extensively. Referring on findings from a recent
research conducted among Britons aged 18–30, Victoria Woollaston reported in the Daily Mail, May 20,
2013, that '94 per cent of people in the UK would rather live without sex than their mobile phones.'
It is currently estimated that more than two and one half billion persons have access to the internet
and close to one billion possess a unique e-mail account as Gmail, yahoo, or hotmail. It is interesting to
note that all three service giants give different and not objectively verified statistics on the numbers of
individuals possessing their e-mail accounts. It would also be useful to be aware of the fact that many
individuals, for their own reasons, may hold more than one account in more than one of the three giant
services mentioned above.

In this chapter the reader will be briefly introduced to the birth and historical development of the variety
of mass media available today starting with the process of printing words and transmitting pictures on
the TV tube and moving to the digitally transmitted voice over mobile phones and moving pictures on
stable or hand-held screens.

From stone inscription to the printing process

Tens of thousands of years passed between the time humans developed the capacity to use a spoken
language as a communication means and the use of signs and the deposition of words and phrases in
written form. In the communication evolution process several millennia passed between the creation
of the first written documents on stone, clay, papyri, paper and the introduction of the woodblock print
process credited to creative inventors in China and the mechanical movable type created and put to use
by Johannes Gutenberg in Germany.

Johannes (Gensfleisch zur Laden zum) Gutenberg, is credited with the discovery and the introduction,
around the middle of the 15th century, of the movable type of printing in Europe. It revolutionized
the printing process in what is considered by some scholars as the most important discovery of the
second millennium A.D. Up to that time the production of manuscripts was a painstaking art limited
in numbers as its production was undertaken, usually, by monks living in Monasteries and laymen who
were talented calligraphers.

Somewhere between the second century B.C. and the second century A.D., both paper and ink were
invented by the Chinese. The Chinese are credited with the discovery of the woodblock printing process
used to print both images and text on paper and textiles. It is true that Gutenberg's contribution in the
printing process using paper, ink and movable wooden (and to some extent metal) parts, was greatly
facilitated by the fact that his native German vocabulary consisted by a small number of letters compared
to the vast amount of 'letters' of the Chinese language.

It can be easily understood that Gutenberg's discovery and use of the printing process helped the
proliferation of written documents in large numbers of copies and thus augmented the communication of
ideas and knowledge throughout the European continent. As large numbers of people were participating
in this large scale communication process through printed material, a novel sociological and historical
phenomenon emerged and has been hence forth described by the term of the 'mass audience'. Thanks
to Gutenberg's discovery, the means came into existence to disseminate information, at first in the form
of pamphlets and later on as newspapers to large, heterogeneous groups of people in a relatively short
period of time.

Enter the 'penny press' innovation

Several centuries after Gutenberg's printing machine discovery and while newspapers were a reality in
the process of information dissemination, on September 3, 1833, the owners of the New York Sun started
selling their daily newspaper at the affordable price of one, in contrast to the customary six pennies,
per copy. This innovative move in the printed media, in the newspaper industry, marked the beginning
of the era of the 'penny press' altering drastically, if not dramatically, the entire shape of the newsprint
industry. The penny press detached itself from political party patronage on which the 'six pennies per
issue' newspapers relied heavily and as Mindich (2000, p. 19) has suggested the 'pennies' were supported
mainly by circulation and advertising and not by political party patronage.

Leaders in the newspaper industry, such as Benjamin Day of the Sun and James Gordon Bennet of the
New York Herald, proceeded to introduce the innovation of the 'penny press', realizing that a grow ing
audience of middle-and working-class readers was willing to purchase and pay for a newspaper on a
daily basis without committing themselves to monthly or annual subscription contracts. Furthermore,
it has been noted that while the earlier com mercial press disdained from giving emphasis to and paying
much interest in everyday events, the 'penny press' deliberately sought to cultivate the audience's interest
in local events and everyday State, Regional and National news.

Commenting on this novel socio-historical development Schudson (1978) has noted,

'…The new journalism of the penny press…ushered in a new order, a shared social universe in which
"public" and "private" would be redefined…. With the growth of cities and of commerce, everyday life
acquired a density and a fascination quite new.' (p. 30)

The 1830s which Historians have often labelled, using the name of then US President, as 'Jacksonian
Democracy' was a time when the political system of democracy was gradually coming to be adopted by
many Nations. Many writers seem to concur on the idea that the United States which, as a new Nation,
was founded on entirely democratic ideas was still struggling to come to grips with the processes through
which this novel experiments of 'government by the people' was to work in practice. Commenting within
this frame of reference Schudson (1978) has noted in his book that:

'The penny press expressed and built the culture of a democratic market soci ety, a culture which had
no place for social or intellectual deference. This was the groundwork on which a belief in facts and a
distrust of the reality, or objectivity, of "values" could thrive.' (p. 60)

From the wired telegraph to wireless telegraphy

Etymologically the English term 'telegraphy' stems from the synthesis of two Greek words, namely 'τηλε'
(meaning far or distant) and 'γράφειν' (meaning to write). For those of the readers who wish to look at
the subject in more detail, Huurdeman (2003), among others, has provided useful information on the
history of the development of the wire telegraph. As is the case with numerous other products of science,
following the rapid increase of knowledge on electricity and the carrying of electrical energy by wires,
in the early decades of the 19th century the foundations were laid for the transmission of messages by
the employment and practical use of developed and existing electrical means.

The original electrographic machines were presented in Europe in 1832 by Baron Pavel L'vovitch Schilling
and they were, basically, precursors to the presentation in 1836 by Samuel F.B. Morse in the USA of his own
development of a model of electrical telegraph. Morse, aided by his assistant Alfred Vail, developed the
alphabet, which bears his name, which was used in transmitting messages by the telegraphic equipment.
Within a year after Morse made his discovery public, in 1837, the commercial telegraph developed by
William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone was put into work in London, UK.

Soon after wired telegraphy was introduced to everyday use, in a pattern where wires were usually running
parallel to the railroad lines in both Europe and America, the search for wireless telegraphy commenced. The
ancient wireless communication forms which ranged, as mentioned previously, from the fire and smoke signals
to the talking drums and from mirror transmitted signals to semaphore forms using coloured flags, were now
giving their place to wired telegraphy and to other forms of communication aided by the use of electricity.

At this point I would like to bring to your attention, as a parenthesis to our brief presentation of the
development of the telegraph, the 1812–1815 war between Great Britain and the USA (which has
been labelled as 'the war of faulty communication'). This particular conflict, which had immense
cost in thousands of human lives and loss of ships and war equipment, was ironically created by a
communication gap existing at that time period. Some historians have claimed that had there been a
telegraph communication capability between the US and Europe it would have become clear that the
British Government committed itself to repealing the laws that were the basis for the war two days before
America's President Madison and his Congress declared the war against Britain on June 18, 1812. If better,
more efficient, means of communication had existed they would have averted the bloody January 15,
1815 New Orleans battle in which British General Sir Edward Pakenham and more than 1,500 of his
men were killed. The treaty, designed to end the conflict and obviously to avert the war, had been signed
15 days earlier in the city of Ghent, Belgium but due to the lack of speedy communication means was
not relayed to the US Government in time to avert the conflict.

Should some readers of this book wish to delve somewhat deeper into historical and other data relating to
wireless communication, they could look a the works of Fahie (1991), Sarkar, & Baker, (2006) who, among
others, have presented an extensive and useful history of the development of wireless communication.
Pioneer work needed as the basis for new inventions had been already successfully carried through by
scientists like Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell. Adding their contribution to such works, a
number of other scientists, among them Édouard Eugène Désiré Branly in France, Sir Oliver Joseph
Lodge in Britain and Nikola Tesla in the USA, paved the way for more developments in this field. The
culmination of such efforts, as we now know, was embodied in the work presented by the Italian scientist
Guglielmo Marconi on the eve of the 20th century. Marconi's work earned him the 1909 Nobel Prize in
Physics which he shared with the German scientist Karl Ferdinand Braun.

Marconi had made a number of attempts to transmit a wireless trans-Atlantic message between the
North American coast line and the western parts of the United Kingdom. He succeeded in his efforts
on January 18, 1903 when from the Marconi built station in Massachusetts a greeting message from
then United States President Theodore Roosevelt for King Edward the VII was received in the United
Kingdom. The reality remained, however, that consistent transatlantic wireless messaging continued to
be plagued by difficulties rendering it troublesome as a means of communication. However, if a specific
tragedy could indicate that something was apparently on the road to being successful, it would relate
to the fact, as it has historically been noted, that the Marconi Massachusetts based station had received
the 'distress' signal coming from the 'ill fated' RMS Titanic.

AM and FM radio come to existence

As is usually the case with progress in science, researchers and, depending on the subject inventors,
utilizing existing knowledge or artefacts add on to them their own creative contribution. In this manner
an existing theory, idea or object is brought on to a new synthesis with heuristic potential for new and
hitherto unknown and untried uses. Within this framework of the theory of knowledge or epistemology,
adding and improving Guglielmo Marconi's wireless telegraphy, the Canadian borne Reginald Fassenden
is credited with the invention of the Modulation of radio waves and the first voice transmission by radio
in 1906.

The American inventor Lee Deforest helped the further development of previously existing apparatus
by adding his invention of the three electrode vacuum tube (triode) which had the capacity to boost
radio emitted waves. Deforest's invention helped create and put forth for practical use, for the first time
in history, what was termed 'wireless telephony'. His 'audion' could transmit human voices and music
allowing them to be heard clearly and it is said that he was the first person to use for the first time ever
the term 'radio'. Deforest's vacuum triode tube was used as the basis for all telephone, radio, television
and radar systems until the now historically famed 'transistors' were invented and put to practical use
shortly after the end of the Second World War in 1947.

Based on these inventions the Amplitude Modulated, or AM radio, was invented and came into existence
giving rise to the creation and operation of a multitude of AM radio stations. It should be noted that
during the First World War, as a precautionary defence act, the US Government assumed absolute control
of all patents relating to radio technology. Soon after the end of the First World War, in 1919, the Radio
Corporation of America (RCA) was established combining the Marconi Wireless telegraph Company of
America, Westinghouse Electric and General Electric, followed by the American Telephone and Telegraph
which, after coming into existence, went in operation and continued to do so until the mid-1980s.

It was during the early 1930s that Edwin Armstrong brought forth his invention of the frequencymodulated,
or in abbreviated form 'FM radio', which improved to a significant degree the audio signal
of radio transmissions. Armstrong's creation managed to control the noise static caused by electrical
equipment and the earth's atmosphere thus vastly improving the quality of radio transmissions made
until then in the 'AM radio' type of broadcasting.

In 1947 Bell Labs invented and introduced the transistor which replaced Deforest's vacuum triode tube
and in the mid-1950s a small Japanese company, the humble start of today's giant corporation bearing
the name of SONY, built and brought to the market the first 'transistor radio' marking the beginnings
of a new era in radio broadcasting history.

Birth and development of television

Fisher and Fisher (1996) in their book 'Tube: The Invention of Television' have managed to give in an
anecdotal fashion the history of the discovery and operation of television and the protagonists involved
in it. Their book presents what has been a fascinating story not only on the merits of the 'small screen'
known as TV but, additionally, because of the confrontations between scientists and inventors struggling
in laboratories and lawyers crossing their swords as arguments in court rooms relating to claims and
counterclaims on patent rights for TV.

Once the scientific foundations were laid and the launch of wireless telegraphy and AM-radio as well
as FM-radio became everyday realities, the road to discovering and creating the apparatus needed for
the birth of television had been mapped and followed suit. The cathode ray tube (CRT) or 'Braun tube'
named after its inventor, Nobel winner Karl Ferdinand Braun, is a vacuum tube containing an electron
gun (a source of electrons or electron emitter) and a fluorescent screen used to view images. It possesses
the means to accelerate and deflect the electron beam onto the fluorescent screen to create on it the
projected images.

It should be noted here that leading roles in the historic process of inventing television were held in
America by a visionary farm boy named Philo Farnsworth and the Russian-born scientist Vladimir
Kosmich Zworykin who immigrated to the USA after the 1918 Russian revolution. In the UK a leading
role in the development of the first television apparatus was played by the Scottish born engineer John
Logie Baird who spent most of his adult life, until his death, living and working in Southern England.
Currently Liquid-crystal display televisions (LCD TV), Plasma Display panel (PDP) and light-emitting
diode (LED) screen TV sets are market products familiar to television viewers in most parts of the world.

The digital age & 'www'

The 'World Wide Web', globally known as the Internet, has come to be and is increasingly becoming a
real challenge to classic information and news providing media. As we have already seen, the once solid
and exclusive protagonist role held by the printed press was challenged by radio once radio sets became
widely available. Subsequently, printed press and radio appeared to unite when they were challenged by
television which became for vast numbers of audiences the main source of information not only through
news programs but through other programs and shows as well. Since its inception and increasing use,
'www' seems to have created a 'common defence front' between the press, radio and television.

The maxim that 'history repeats itself ' has a strong confirmation in the case of the 'www' which combines
printed, auditory and visual advances in technology providing both a mass as well as a personal medium
of communication. Considering the significance of providing information to the public, the wide
dispersion of Internet was destined, ultimately, not only to be perceived but to actually be a common
threat to the traditional providers of information, namely the press, radio and television combined. A
significant portion of the information dissemination role performed by the classic three media is now
shared by the new comer medium, namely the Internet.

The internet seems to have grown as a particularly true reality in the world of politics. As Klotz (2004)
has noted:

'An eagerness to embrace a new technology for political use is a long-standing tradition. When a new
medium emerges, invariably claims are made that it can dramatically improve politics. The telegraph,
for instance, was thought to be able to reduce political conflict and promote world peace by generating
a shared understanding. The internet is no different. (p. xiii)

The Internet is already dramatizing a significant, multi-level and multi-faceted role in the political arena
ranging from activities in e-Government, dissemination of information on proposed legislature and
politicians' activities not only during election times but in post election periods as well. Anduiza, Jensen
and Jorba (2012, p. 1) have argued that there are different paths, both direct and indirect, through which
digital media affect political involvement among citizens. The editors bring forth the fact that digital
media opened new modes of engagement, previously not existing, that can be used by citizens to express
their political views and convey their interests to politicians, political parties and the Government.

To a large extent, the digital world can bee seen as a nightmare for some politicians and a blessing for others
as it enables the average, interested and concerned citizen, to monitor the activities of elected political
leaders, of Governments and oppositions in most countries of the world. As it turns out sometimes,
in some countries, not only occasionally but on a daily (and in special cases almost an hourly) basis
politicians, political decisions, and relevant behaviors are the objects of scrutiny, praise or criticism by
vast numbers of citizens using digital media.

On a world wide basis, the ease of creating a 'personal blog' has made possible to birth of up to now
unknown forms of massive expression, almost instantaneously formulating public opinion and expressing
it through the 'www'. Members of the younger generations are avid users of the internet and are more
prone to accessing the news on their androids, i-phones and i-pads rather than from the pages of a
newspaper or a magazine.

Counterbalancing the positive aspects of the use of digital media we cannot overlook, or even lightly
bypass, the immense potential for propaganda disseminated through the internet. Given the vast amount
of personal blogs existing worldwide, it is not surprising that anyone can spread a message, true or false,
or manipulate information or even alter a picture with the aid of the widely known 'photo-shop' to suit his
or her own, legal or illegal, ethical or unethical ends. The possibilities for seri ous mischief are enormous
and there exist many examples where they have already been implemented creating problems on the
political scene. Not only individuals and groups but SMEs' (small and medium enterprises) and LSEs'
(large scale enterprises) and public as well as Non Governmental organizations are also vulnerable, and
there have been some serious cases of damage done to individual, company or organization reputations
as a result of false information spread widely on the Internet.

Like the proverbial two-edged knife, the Internet with the increasing ease of access and mobility, on
the one hand is a strong factor in the growth of the Internet as a constant source of useful information,
news and comments, and on the other hand for exposure to malicious gossip and all other sorts of
irresponsibly disseminated information. In cyberspace, there is a widely accepted lack of 'ethical and
legal controls' which also accounts for the increasing speed with which news as well as 'rumours' are
spread as individuals are constantly monitoring their electronic devices, be they laptop computers, smart
phones, androids and tablets, and responding accordingly.

Indeed there appears to be enormous potential for propaganda activities of the 'Twitter phenomenon'.
This refers to the case where mil lions of web users can instantaneously offer their thoughts in cryptic
messages as a 'twit', a practice which is widely realized. It is true that the twit is limited to 140 characters,
(while the SMS is limited to 160 characters), but its value is progressively being appreciated. Another
type of social media communication is the LinkedIn, which was associated with twitter until recently
but their relationship has ended. It would not be a far-fetched assessment to assert that the new social
media are tailor-made, although this certainly was not an intention of their creators, for the spreading of
rumours. The Facebook, which started off as a college media network and is now trading as a company
on the NASDAQ exchange in New York, is also one of the popular media of transmitting information
and exchanging views on every and any conceivable subject among users ranging in age from young
adolescents to third age adults.

Newspaper, radio and Television journalists and commentators, as well as social scientists and political
analysts, have attributed a significant role to the portion of information exchanged by the use of mobile
phones and social media among people participating in the social upheaval called 'Arab Spring'. Some
analysts have linked this recent socio-political phenomenon which started in Tunisia in December 2010 with
the fate of a young man known as Mohamed Bouazizi. This young man, a street vendor and breadwinner for
his family, protested the actions of the regime against him with self-immolation in December 2010 and died
almost three weeks later in January 2011. The social unrest that followed the death of Mohamed Bouazizi
resulted in the collapse of Tunisia's Government. It sparked the continuation of the 'Arab Spring' with the
overturning of rulers and establishment of new regimes in Nations of the North African Continent. For
some analysts the bloody 'civil strife' going on in Syria can be included in the 'Arab Spring' phenomenon but
others content that the Syrian conflict between rebels and the Assad regime had started somewhat earlier.

Computers, Information Communication Technology, the digital age media and the related emergence
and appearance of modern 'barons' in this industry, are highlighted by John Naughton in his July 1,
2012 article in The Observer under the title: 'The New-tech moguls: the modern robber barons'. Naughton,
quoting the 'Forbes 100 richest billionaires', notes that 10 of the world's billionaires owe their wealth to
computer and/or network technology:

'At the top (second on the list) is Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, whose net worth is estimated
by Forbes at $61bn, despite the fact that he continues to try to give it away. Gates is followed by Larry
Ellison, boss of Oracle, with $36bn, and Michael Bloomberg with $22bn. Larry Page and Sergey Brin –
co-founders of Google – occupy joint 24th place with $18.7bn each. Jeff Bezos of Amazon is No 26 with
$18.4bn while the newly enriched Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook sits at No 35 with £17.5bn. Michael
Dell, founder of the eponymous computer manufacturer, is at No 41 with $15.9bn while Steve Ballmer,
Microsoft's CEO, is three places lower on $15.7bn and Paul Allen – co-founder of Microsoft – brings
up the rear at No 48 with a mere $14.2bn. Steve Jobs, who was worth about $9bn when he died, doesn't
even figure.'(http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jul/01/new-tech-moguls-robber-barons)


  1. Communication is a universal phenomenon: system of 4 components
  2. Human Communication: scheme of human communication, defining
  3. Body Language: darwins contribution, intrigue of body language
  4. Mass Media & social media: stone inscription, printing process
  5. The Role of attitudes in human communication: defining attitudes
  6. The birth of a speciality: roots in antiquity, historic glimpse
  7. Publics, Public Opinion and its moulders: historical evolution, term
  8. Rhetoric, Persuasion and Propaganda: rome, love, definitions, variety
  9. Corporate Communication & Responsibility: corporate communication
  10. Press releases, special events and sponsorships: PR specialist
  11. Leaders and Leadership: pantheon of leaders, persons, injustice
  12. Leadership, Power, Authority & Charisma: events, political, financial
  13. Leadership research at the Universities of Iowa, Ohio & Michigan:
  14. Modern theories of leadership in Private and Public Enterprises and Or
  15. Instead of an epilogue: Women leaders remain under a glass ceiling:
  16. References: Bibliography
  17. The Author: Dr Georgios P. Piperopoulos, sociology, psychology