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Chapter 10 Mass Media.docx

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Ryerson University
SOC 103
Tonya Davidson

SOC103 How Society Works CHAPTER 10 Mass Media MODULE 10.1 – Mass Media through Time  Mass communication: transmission of messages by a person or group through a device to a large audience  Mass media: devices designed to communicate messages to a mass audience  Hieroglyphics: an early form of visual communication developed by the Egyptians  Papyrus: an early form of writing paper developed by the Egyptians FROM BLOCK PRINTING TO MOVABLE TYPE  Block printing: devices designed to communicate messages to a mass audience o Involved engraving text and illustrations into wooden blocks that were then inked and pressed onto paper  Movable type: Gutenberg’s invention that allowed individual letters or images to be moved without influencing the surrounding text o Used small metal shafts whose ends took the form of letters or images, which could be moved into sentences and patterns and then transferred to paper o First major application of mass production and its interchangeable parts constituted one of the earliest instances of a technique that would become instrumental to the Industrial Revolution NEWSPAPERS  After the printing press made books and pamphlets accessible to masses, newspapers began to emerge across Europe THE TELEGRAPH  After the newspaper, in 1843, the next important medium of mass communication was Samuel Morse’s telegraph o Telegraph uses a keypad to send short and long electrical pulses – called Morse code – through telegraph lines to be received and translated at the other end  Used to transmit train orders and other communications THE PHONOGRAPH  In 1877, Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph ushered in sound o Used a spinning cylinder (made from paper, wax, and metal) as a needle that would scratch the surface (making grooves) as vibrations of sound were passed through the mouthpiece o Once the grooves were made on the cylinder, another needle was used to reply the recording MOVING PICTURES  In 1832, Joseph Antoine Plateau developed the phenakistoscope, which consisted of two spinning disks that gave the impression of movement  In 1888, Thomas Edison developed a technique whereby photographic file could be run rapidly across a camera’s shutter, which would expose the film in frames o Since the exposures were shown quickly, one after the other, when they were played back, the impression of fluid movement was achieved RADIO  In the 1860s, James Maxwell predicted the existence of radio waves  In 1886, Heinrich Hertz showed the fluctuations of electric current could be projected into space as radio waves, and that they operated in a similar fashion to light and heat waves  In 1895 Guglielmo Marconi sent and received the first radio signal, and in 1901, transmitted the first transatlantic message  Key development of the radio was that it did not require wires and allowed a single signal to be transmitted to anyone with a receiver TELEVISION  In the late 1880s, Paul Nipkow was the first to build a working mechanical television which sends images through wires and a rotating metal disk  In 1927, Philo Taylor invented the first working model of an electronic television  In 1927, Ernst Alexanderson demonstrated that that he could broadcast pictures and sound through the air and receive them on a television SOC103 How Society Works  Teenagers’ viewing has been declining as a result of the emerging dominance of the Internet THE INTERNET  Began as an American Department of Defense contract to design a computer network to act as a vehicle for communication that would be impervious to a nuclear strike  Has led to a technological revolution that has transformed how, and how quickly, we communicate with one another MODULE 10.2 – Mass Media Today  Traditional mass communication technologies (radio, newspapers, television) push content to their audiences; new technologies enable customers to pull content that reflects their particular and unique interests whenever they what  Web 2.0: interactive online tools dedicated to promoting a greater sense of community SATELLITE TELEVISION AND RADIO  Satellite stations target a broad audience and offer hundreds of channels, an increasing number of which are in high- definition o Personal video recorders (PVRs) means viewers can “pause” live programming, automatically record shows for later viewing, and even remove commercials  Satellite radio stations are available anywhere a car’s satellite antenna can pick up a signal and without ads CELLPHONES  Mobile phone has now moved beyond being a mere technical device to becoming a key social object present in everyday aspect of a user’s life o Has become part of a user’s “personal sphere of objects,” like a wallet and keys  Gives users the impression that they are constantly connected to the world outside, and therefore less alone  Cell phones criticized for contributing to poor spelling and grammar, being a distraction from tasks that require concentration, and for promoting the demise of intimate face-to-face relationships  Digital sociality: a social landscape in which new communication technologies are promoting human interaction and contact TEXT MESSAGING  Has negative influence on writing ability, others see it as an opportunity for artistic expression  Between two people; however, recent software development make it possible for an individual or business to convey a message through virtually any text messaging device o EX. TXTlaunchpad ( urges potential buyers of its software to “Reach Your Audience Anytime, Any Place, Anywhere” MUSIC FILE SHARING AND PODCAST  In 1999, Shawn Fanning created the first peer-to-peer (P2P) software that allowed Internet users to share digital music files for free o Biggest threat for recording industries because neither recording companies nor artists were receiving any royalty payments for these shared files  Podcast: a technology that allows automatic downloading of audio and video files that can then be played back on personal computers or loaded onto portable players o Are amateurs who produce their own materials from home studios and allows people to become disc jockeys, talk show hosts, and recording artists o Narrowcast: a transmission of data to specialized audiences who subscribe to the service o Demassification: a process by which the mass audience is fragmented into smaller groups or niches to appeal to unique interests BLOGS  Blog: an online diary in which an individual posts personal reflections on events, specific topics, and/or experiences o Posts insights in a matter that may inform others or act as an opportunity to voice dissenting opinions or perspectives  RSS (Really Simple Syndication): a web feed format that informs subscribers of new posts on online services SOC103 How Society Works  Blog’s principle attraction – the ability to present one’s ideas to a global audience and invite a dialogue – means that over time, these dialogues may take on the characteristics of an online global community WIKIS  Wiki: an online body of information which anyone can add or modify content o Allows everyone to participate as a community that is non-hierarchical and non-regulated o Does not necessarily provide reliable information because it can be created and edited at any time and by anyone MODULE 10.3 – Sociological Approaches to Mass Media FUNCTIONALISM  Views mass media as providing a unique and powerful ability to promote common values and beliefs  Four primary areas in which mass media contributes to society: 1. Socialization function: mass media’s role in transmitting beliefs, values, and traditions from one generation to the next  Promotes social integration and the formation of a common cultural identity  Fails to promote alternative perspectives and largely ignores the voice of minority groups 2. Surveillance function: mass media’s role in gathering and disseminating information to the population  Traditional function through mass media (newspaper, radio, and television), but more people are turning into alternative media (amateur podcasts, blogs, and other online resources) to get information 3. Correlation function: mass media’s role in filtering and making comprehensible the huge daily volume of news stories and issues 4. Entertainment function: mass media’s role in helping people rest, relax, and escape the pressures of everyday life CONFLICT THEORY  Mass media are vehicles used by the rich and powerful to control the masses and to reinforce their false consciousness  (Michael Parenti) argues in
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