Communication Through the Ages: The Forms of Mass Media

Mass media is used to communicate to large groups of people. Despite the many forms of mass media, their end goal is the same: reaching a large or specific audience.

What Is Considered Mass Media?
Mass media include the ways by which mass communication is delivered to an audience, while mass communication is information that needs to get to a specific audience or a large number of people. This could include store or product advertising; a communication about something that's happening within a community, country or the world; or, on a smaller scale, a corporate message that needs to get to all employees. Mass communication through media outlets is usually a one-way delivery process. It's goal is to provide information to people without any responses or feedback.

The Forms of Mass Media
Mass communication can be delivered in many different ways, which are based on reaching the information's target audience. Some of the more common forms of mass media include the following:

  • Print publications: This is the oldest form of mass media. It includes things such as newspapers, handbills, magazines, flyers and highway billboards.
  • Television and films: Television has been entertaining audiences since the 1950s. It's also used as a medium to deliver both local and global news. Television started out with just a few channels, but today there are a variety of network and cable channels. Films can be seen on television or at a movie theater. They provide entertainment to an audience and are also used to tell stories.
  • Radio: This form of communication originated in the military. Once it was available in households, it was used for entertainment and to deliver the news. Families would gather around the radio for weekly programs.
  • Internet: This is one of the newest forms of mass media. It allows its audience to provide a response, opinion or give feedback. A variety of communication is processed through the internet, including social media, advertising, news and entertainment.

Mass Media for the New Age
Some of the popular forms of mass media for younger generations are video games, social media and smart phones, to name a few.

  • Video games: Games are much more complex these days than when they originally came out. Some game consoles have Wi-Fi access, allowing players to compete against opponents from all over the world.
  • Social media: This mass form of communication is used both in business and for personal use. Social media keeps users current on world events, as well as their friends and family's day-to-day personal lives.
  • Smart phones: Modern phones offer a variety of ways to communicate to the masses, including texts, emails, access to social media and access to current news almost as quickly as it happens.