3.1 What is Communication?
Communication is a common phenomenon that cuts across the daily
activities of human being. As food and water are very important to
man’s survival so is communication. It is always a unique feature that
differentiates the living from the dead. Obilade (1989) defines
communication as a process that involves the transmission of message
from a sender to the receiver.
A group of Nigerian Communication Scholars namely Babatunde
Folarin, Dayo Soola, Isaac Ode, Frank Ugboajah variously define
communication as follows:
• Any means by which a thought is transferred from one person to
another (Folarin 2003).
• The process by which any person or a group shares and impacts
information with/to another person(or group) so that both people(or
groups) clearly understand one another (Soola 2000).
• Not just giving of information, it is the giving of understandable
information and receiving and therefore, the transferring of a
message to another party so that it can be understood and acted upon
• The process which involves all acts of transmitting messages to
channels which link people to the languages and symbolic codes
which are used to transmit such messages. It is also the means by
which such messages are received and stored. It includes the rules,
customs and conventions which define and regulate human
relationships and events (Ugboajah 2001).
3.2 Functions of Communication
Communication performs diverse kinds of functions. We will look at
the following functions:
1. Social Interaction
Human interaction is possible because we can communicate. We relate
with friends, parents, colleagues, etc because we share codes that make
us understand each other. Without communication this will not be
2. Business and Trade
Communication provides opportunity to transact business and engage in
trade. We are able to make known what we are offering for sales and
what we want to buy. We also negotiate the prices, mode of delivery
etc. through communication
3. Exchange of Ideas and Spread of Knowledge
We express freely our ideas, opinions and feelings on issues affecting
us. We also share knowledge as we engage in discussion and write
books. In classroom situation, a teacher is able to impart knowledge into
students through communication.
4. Social-Political Development
Development is made possible through communication. Communication
helps to mobilise people to work together for their social and political
5. Social-Cultural Integration
Communication enables exchange of culture and values. Through music,
interaction in communities, we are able to learn one another’s cultures
and blend for harmonious co-habitation
.3 What is Mass Communication?
Mass Communication is a means of disseminating information or
message to large, anonymous, and scattered heterogeneous masses of
receivers who may be far removed from the message sources through
the use of sophisticated equipment. In other words, communication is
the sending of message through a mass medium to a large number of
Mass Communication represents the creation and sending of a
homogeneous message to a large heterogeneous audience through the
media. Mass communication studies the uses and effects of the media by
many as opposed to the study of human interaction as in other
Stanley Baran defines Mass Communication as the process of creating
shared meaning between the mass media and their audience. Also, John
Bittner defines Mass Communication as messages communicated
through a mass medium to a large number of people.
One needs to underscore the underlying fact that what is common in
every definition of mass communication anywhere in the world is that it
is communicated through a mass medium. In other words, for...
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