Study Preview Mass literacy means making distinctions between mass communication and other forms of communication. Mass communication targets technologically amplified messages to massive audiences. Other forms of communication pale in comparison in their ability to reach great numbers of people, and yet can still be effective forms of communication.
Learning Objectives By the end of this module you will be able to:
1.3.1 Traditional Forms of Communication 1. Objective: Analyze the way technology has affected communication
Human communication has many forms. Cave dwellers talked to each other. When Tor grunted at his neighbor Oop, it was interpersonal communication—one on one. Around the campfire, when Tor recounted tales from the hunt for the rest of the tribe, he was engaging in group communication. Traditionally, both interpersonal and group communication are face-to-face. Technology has expanded the prehistoric roots of human communication. When lovers purr sweet nothings via text on a smartphone, it’s still interpersonal communication. And even though technology-assisted, a rabble- rouser with a megaphone is engaging in group communication. The lines between
interpersonal and group communication become blurred when using social media as a vehicle. For instance, if two individuals are engaging in an online debate on Twitter, and other Twitter users can observe and chime in if they so choose, is this interpersonal communication or group communication?
Paleolithic humans left images that communicated among selves and later cave visitors.
1.3.2 Communication Through Mass Media 1. Objective: Characterize mass communication
Fundamental to media literacy is recognizing the different forms of communication for what they are. Confusing interpersonal communication and mass communication, for example, only muddles an attempt to sort through important complex issues.
Mass communication is the sending of a message to a great number of people at widely separated points. Mass communication is possible only through technology, whether it be a printing press, a broadcast transmitter, or an Internet server. The massiveness of the audience is a defining characteristic of mass communication.
Characteristics of Mass Communication Audience. The mass audience is eclectic and heterogeneous. With sitcoms, for example, the television networks seek mega-audiences of disparate groups— male and female, young and old, liberal and conservative, devout and nonreligious. Some media products narrow their focus, like a bridal magazine, but a bridal magazine’s intended audience, although primarily young and female, is still diverse in terms of ethnicity, income, education, and other kinds of measures. Its focus is still a mass audience.
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