Some Internet communication straddles the distinction between mass communication, which is intended for mass audiences, and interpersonal communication, which is one-on-one.
One of the first mass uses of the Internet was e-mail, a shortened form of the term electronic mail.The history of e-mail goes back to 1969 when the U.S. military created a computer network, called ARPAnet, which stood for Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. The Pentagon built the network for military contractors
and universities doing military research to exchange information. In 1983 the National Science Foundation, whose mandate is to promote science, took over. New software coding evolved to enable disparate computer systems to talk with each other.
Today anyone with an Internet-capable device and an Internet connection can exchange e-mail messages with anyone on the planet who is similarly equipped. E- mail has become a nearly universal communication tool. Most users prefer e-mail to letters, now derisively called snail mail.
The unadorned text of e-mail messages is quick to compose, straightforward, and can be left in the in-boxes of busy and away-from-the-desk recipients. Endless telephone tag has become less of an irritant to everyday business and social transactions, as e- mail has overtaken telephone calls in many industries.
Despite its roots in new technology, e-mail generally is not mass communication. People use e-messages mostly for one-on-one communication. True, multiple parties can be coded into a message. Also true, spammers have devised spam messages that blanket thousands, indeed millions of people with pitches and pleas. In one sense, spam meets the definition of mass communication because of the size, heterogeneity, and distance of the audience. In another sense, e-mail spam is mostly unpolished and amateurish with few of the marks of carefully and professionally crafted mass- communication messages.
E-mail did take on more earmarks of mass communication when new software integrated plain vanilla text with hypertext, the underlying coding of the World Wide Web, and graphics, allowing for e-mail blasts. Even then, however, organizations seeking slick presentations for mass audiences generally use websites.
Friendly Shoot-Off Eric Thayer and Joshua Lott shoot for the New York Times and Reuters and are competitors. In their spare time they have fun with their smartphones and post Instagram messages. Their jobs and hobbies turned into a friendly face-off when traveled to Chicago and Detroit to cover Chicago Fire matches. They posted Instagram posts for friends and followers to vote either for Team Thayer or Team Lott as the better photographer.
Check them out on their websites:
Eric Thayer – http://www.ericthayer.com/
Joshua Lott – http://www.joshualott.com/
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