Mass media has affected the way people communicate and disseminate information in general. Today, the world is a global village. People can easily exchange messages with family and friends. This has been made possible by the platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram (Hiebert & Reuss, 2005). More and more people are getting into the social sites for fun and for the hook-ups. Marketers now use the platforms to advertise their goods. In a nut shell, the impacts can be both positive and negative. The positives include the fact that people can now interact easily, manufacturers can market their products, and information from other parts of the world can be received easily.
The negatives include assimilation of cultures and identity issues, especially among children and the youths. They want to copy what they see on the television and the internet. They want to dress like the celebrities. This creates a distortion and can be potentially dangerous, if not controlled (McCall, 2007). Pornography in the media influences the viewers in a negative way, and this can affect relationships. The media makes practices, such as smoking and drinking, “ordinary”, so the youths can be misled to accept such behaviors as usual.
Face book, Twitter, Instagram, and a plethora of other sites have extreme popularity. One may wonder what the reasons for this popularity are. These sites are the form of media used to communicate with friends and family, follow celebrities, express opinions, or give folks some over-inflated sense of popularity and existence measured by the quantity of followers or friends they have on their page, while they can sit behind the screen with their keyboard and boast or snivel about their lives and belittle others to gain all of the attention (Galician, 2004). Regardless of their intent to have these personal sites, there seems to be a growing trend of users posting comments or pictures on their pages with no idea of any legal ramifications; for example, bullying and defamatory comments, photos, or videos.
Technology and growth of mobile devices have given marketers in the globe more ways to connect with their growing mobile audience. Enterprise mobility refers to how many businesses are trying to use platforms, such as internet and mobile phone applications, in a bid to have an in-depth penetration of the market. Of course, the main reason is to have as many customers as possible in a market that is full of competition and diversity of products (Haerens & Zott, 2014). Businesses are shifting to the on-line marketing. Organizations have an instant access to the information from anywhere and anytime they want. In order to remain competitive, businesses are marketing their products online and can now have their messages spread within a very short time.
There is an increased marketing and promotions for their products. In the past, there was low mobility, and, as a result, businesses relied on newspapers, TV, radio, flyers, and posters. The situation has changed a lot and nowadays more people can get to hear of a product as soon as it lands in the market. Back then marketing was slower than now. In this digital era, when most people have access to the social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, marketing is now a notch higher (Haerens & Zott, 2014).
Advertisers all over the world now have the platform to engage their customers and clients on a one-on-one marketing through websites and SMS blasts. They spend less, but are more fragmented concerning their spending habits. Given that more and more people are using the Internet, it means that their products are more visible than they were, say, some years ago. Traditional advertising will cease to be effective. Advertisement campaigns will be organized around audiences and platforms, and will be location-based. Consumers will respond more to the ads that entertain them.
As it has already been witnessed with the social media, the consumers will be part of the brand-making; marketers will have no option, but to include the consumers in brand conversation. Overall, the Internet and mobile communication have made the world a global village, where consumers can easily be reached by marketers, only that this time round, they will be actively engaged into one-on-one marketing, and they will set the marketing trends (Galician, 2004).
Television is a source of entertainment for families. It kills monotony and boredom. Television viewing is a favorite pastime in most homes. With advance in technology, there are now more television channels than, say, fifty years ago. The producers of the television programs are in a competition, and it means that they need to diversify in terms of the contents that they show. Some time back, the producers focused on the typical family. Then, they aired programs that were informative and showed the way the family was supposed to be the fundamental block of the society. The characters in the movies wore “better”, than the ones depicted today. The society then was reflected, as it should practically be. That has since changed. As a result, today people, eespecially the youth, are free to choose what they want to view, as it appeals to them.
The world has become more liberal, meaning that people can choose what they want to view without not-so-much discretion. There have been changes, such as reversed roles. For instance, the father is no longer the breadwinner, as he had been in the last few decades. The mother now works and equally provides. Issues, such as abortion and homosexuality, are now talked about more openly. The TV just depicts the reality on the ground. Women can have abortions even without the permission of their husbands.
The teenagers today smoke and drink even in front of their parents; thus, executing the practices that were almost a taboo in the past. They can date freely with members of the opposite sex. Their parents no longer dictate the kind of friends they should have. Childless couples can now even hire surrogate mothers, thanks to mass media, which propagates such practices. These are some of the realities that are depicted on the television. Truth be told, the course of generation has been revolutionized.
In a bid to penetrate the market even more, various companies resorted to digital and online marketing of their brands. This proved a bigger overhaul and turn-around for most companies, in terms of their marketing and communications strategy plans. Advertising is important to businesses and enterprises. Before now, the companies had relied on the traditional TV and newspaper advertisement. However, unlike the earlier forms of advertising, internet and digital modes are cheaper and more reliant given that they can be used to interact with many people; in the today’s world, most people are proficient in internet.
The internet has many platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the websites that various companies can use to reach a huge market force. By going digital and online, companies improve profits. The key motivation is to increase their market. This would translate into the improved sales (McCall, 2007). Companies go online due to the fact that radio, television, and the newspapers did not always give full details of all the facts as stated. This hurts sales, since most people do not understand the terms and conditions of sales or transactions that they are getting into with the various companies. Again, the TV, radio and print media’s audiences are shrinking. This means that more people could not assess the advertisements, as companies had projected before (Hofacker, 2001).
The costs of placing an advert on the print, audio, or recorded media was higher, making the internet be the most viable option left. As a result, companies take an aggressive program within suitable time frames to improve their search engine efficiency by a considerable factor.
Mass media are a variety of media technologies that are meant to reach large populations of people within the shortest time possible through mass communication. Various technologies exist today in different and diverse forms, thanks to technology. Broadcast media include radio, television, newspapers, internet, books, as well as recorded audio and visual material. Most of the mass media are electronic with varying technologies (Hofacker, 2001). There also exist print media, such as newspapers, pamphlets, and books. However, all mass media tools have one aim: to transmit information. Outdoor media are the forms of information transmission that use billboards. Public speaking is also considered as a form of mass media. There also exist the digital media that include internet and mobile phones, e-mails and blogs are other examples of this form of media.
Jurgen Habermas’ “Public Sphere”
The role of mass media in the society is the one surrounded by the various issues, such as the interest of individual. “Where are the boundaries between the ‘private’ and ‘public?”, asks Jurgen Habermas. He believed that opinions focusing on the society and the individual should have been openly and freely exchanged among people without external constraints. It is more of an imaginary or a virtual community. With the increasing global mass communication, the media and its various forms are far much different from these ideals, as envisioned by Jurgen Habermas. There is an illusion, which concerns the role of the media in the society (Habermas, 2009).
The views and virtually the lives of people are controlled by private interests of corporate sponsors, media owners, and influences of states. The media is affecting the lives of many people in a negative way. Most people want to pick up the habits propagated to them through the media. For instance, the youths and children want to dress up like the celebrities they see on TV. This causes identity crises and unnecessary pressures. When these standards are not reached, they could resort to maladaptive practices, such as drugs and violence.
The media have made the world a “virtual institution”. There is an illusion of “fame” brought about by the social platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. The reality, though, is that they are communicating with people they hardly know, and will perhaps never see. The question is what the idea of “public sphere” is? Much of the media cannot be described as genuine public sphere. The internet is not leading the way, either. “The media have private interests. The media, as it is, have no obligations to censor what they release for public consumption” (Habermas, 2009).
Whereas the media are trusted with public and widespread dissemination of information, they cannot act as an effective public sphere for sharing information. According to Habermas, there should be reforms in the media, to check just how much information they can release. At the end of the day, the consumer must be protected from “too much visibility”. This is the true essence of “public sphere” as argued out by Habermas.
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