February 6, 2012
Effects of Mass Media
“The historical development of media and communication can be traced through several overlapping phases or eras in which newer forms of technology disrupted and modified older forms--a process that many academics, critics and media professionals call convergence” (Campbell, Martin, & Fabos, 2012). During the last century, the methods of communication have evolved from oral to digital. Each new media and communication development has influenced how Americans live and represent themselves. An American’s everyday life is defined by what he or she hears, sees, or reads. The evolution of mass media begins with oral communication. Information and knowledge first circulated through oral traditions passed on by poets, teachers, and tribal storytellers (Campbell, Martin, & Fabos, 2012). Oral communication did not reach a mass audience. Information and knowledge stayed within the tribe or community. But when the alphabet emerged, written material began to develop, thus, the writing era began. Oral traditions began to be documented and the written word vanquished oral. The oral and written eras in communication defined the future developments of mass media. Following the oral and written eras was the print era, which was a huge development in mass communication. At first printing was very expensive and only the rich could afford books and papers. But when printing technology improved, the cost of printed materials went down, and they became available to more people. Books became the first mass-marketed product in history (Campbell, Martin, & Fabos, 2012). With books reaching a lot of people more quickly and farther away than ever before, people began to write and spread new ideas that changed the culture. Books, pamphlets, and magazines helped spread knowledge and encouraged education. Literacy increased beyond the wealthy into the...