What is Mass Communication?

Mass communication is, actually, a one-way-mode among media tools. In this type of communication, media communicates with the members of society and receives their appreciations and suggestions from time to time.

The term mass communication was coined for the first time during the thirties of the last century. George Gerbner defined the concept of “social interaction through messages” to denote the nascent concept of mass communication in 1967.

The term ‘mass’ denotes great volume. The word communication refers to giving and taking of meaningful messages.

Thus the phrase “mass communication” refers to the process of transfer of meaningful messages to a large number of people, who are unidentified and located in vast geographical terrain.

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Janowitz defined the term in 1968. He stated, “Mass communications comprise the institutions and techniques by which, specialized groups employ technological devices (Press, radio, films, etc.) to disseminate symbolic content to large heterogeneous and widely dispersed audiences.”

This definition lays emphasis on the sender and the message sent by him and not on interaction, sharing, and response.

This definition was given at the time when the West was witnessing a revolution in mass communication. India was, however, sans the basic facilities and technologies of communication during the late sixties, leave alone those of mass communication.

When a very large group of people is communicated through a medium  by a person or firm, mass communication occurs.

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The person or firm in question can use the radio, television advertisement, printed advertisement in a glossy magazine, Point-of-Purchase display, leaflet, catalog, brochure, or an Internet web site to do so.

He would communicate his message with finesse so that the image of the person/firm is embedded in the minds of the audience.

He cannot afford to be personal because he is addressing the audience by not being physically present among them.

His physical absence is making it imperative for him to design such messages as are glossy, musical, colorful, larger-than-life, and appealing to the targeted audiences.

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These targets are located at far off places and are as diverse as the fingerprints of two different persons.

The communicator wants results from the audience in the near future he is trying to build long-term relations with the audience so that they continue to buy his products, services, thoughts, and ideas for years to come.

He does not want immediate results or those in a time frame of 6 months or 1 year because he is developing long-term relations with them. He plays it cool and builds the image of his product/ firm slowly but surely.

He (or the firm) is a long term player. He is building his markets through an impersonal technique.

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This technique is called Mass communication. it is an example of one way communications but its responses are excepted after 4 reasonably long span of time.

Radio and the Press were the two popular tools. Books were also being published, but they had not been able to bring about a revolution, if mass media and effects thereof were to be considered. Thus, this definition was apt for the West.

According to Janowitz, “Mass communication comprises the institutions and techniques by which, specialized groups employ technological devices (the Press, radio, film, etc.) to disseminate symbolic content to large heterogeneous and widely dispersed audiences.”

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Conclusively, we can state, a process of informing, presenting, motivating, and influencing the targeted audiences that are spread over a vast geographical terrain and have Myriad features in demographic and behavioral terms, to enable them to buy products or services, or change their thought processes and/or actions in their own interest as well as in the interests of the society, environment, and the human race.”

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