Mass media is a term used for dissemination of information, ideas and entertainment by uses of technological media such as radio and television, cinema, press and advertising. They continue to coexist with important traditional media such as folk song and dance, drama, puppetry, etc. These all are referred to as mass media, because it communicates to a mass audience composed of very large numbers of people. Mass media has brought a process of digital revolution, in which a society prior to its traditional form of communication mode, changes rapidly in various forms and modes like socio-cultural, psychological, economic, political, etc. Basically It includes alterations in the structure and functions of the society.

Timeline of every new technological change for media revolution

To further emphasises on this, media revolution in the mode of digitisation can be elaborated by the gartner curve:

The gartner curve does not have any intention in attempting to explain the mass media revolution , however, this curve tends to emphasise each particular phase of technological acceptance of the user. The first phase is known as technological trigger which in this case is a technological breakthrough such as media digitisation. Once the digitisation gains popularity, it causes a steep rise in expected value. The expected value will rise up to the peak of inflated expectation, this is where the digitisation of media is widely publicized, many media firms will adopt this digitisation revolution. However, the expected value will reduce up to the trough of disillusionment whereby this is the phase where there is some negativity that emerges such as the wide spread of fake news. This causes massive decrease in trust and expected value of digitisation. The fourth phase represented by the slope of enlightenment, this is where digitisation has gone through some ups and downs and led to the optimal path in which the expected value gradually grows. The last phase is the plateau of productivity, this is where the mass adoption occurs by all the media firms and there are certain communities built upon it to improve on how to tackle fake news in digitisation. Hence, this is a way to represent the technological acceptance in mass media revolution.

From the gartner curve we can see the importance of how digitisation can play a huge role in the revolution of mass media in regards to technological acceptance,moreover, as the medium of media is changing towards digitisation, it is important to highlight the medium that is used in media. This can be clearly portrayed by Marshall Mcluhan in the book medium of the massage.

An Inventory of Effects 

Marshall Mcluhan

McLuhan theorizes that “the medium is the message” and this reveals how the form of media we are receiving imposes itself upon all levels of our private and our social life. It further creates a sensory environment that could be as invisible as the water to fish. In this generation, the main and most effective platform that people use as their primary method of advertisement is media. This allows them to showcase their products and talents in a more enhancing way. Media is a fast and time-saving way to reach thousands of people when compared with the conventional way of doing things (reaching out through posters, etc.).  There are multiple options and mediums for people to choose that the chances of them running out is very small. The media can tremendously change the way we interact with the world around us. Media exposes us to different stories and images of society, the more we dwell on those influences, the more impactful the message will be to us. Below an example from a coke advertisement will be discussed to further elaborate on this idea.

coke challenge

People are beginning to place a lot more value on what they see on their screens instead of what they have been taught growing up or choose to believe what they are fed by the media. The advertisement of coke uploaded on You YouTube draws the viewers to the narrated story before revealing the main product. The main message depicts how a guy is trying to gain a girl’s attention from her group of friends in an event, however, the friends do not approve of him so they start to block his view of her by standing in front of the girl.  Once the guy realized that he might lose his shot, he looked around for help. He comes across a bank of cold Coca-Cola and decides to pull one out. Each bottle is labeled with different Thai names and since he does not know anything about the girl, he started drinking the drink while simultaneously offering her a bottle as well. The background music that is also played at the same time translates to “I wish I had a word that represents the truth of my heart, I wish I could convey enough to make you understand”. The girl did not accept any of the coke bottles labeled with distinct Thai names until he pulled out another bottle that said “pretty or suay”. The girl started smiling and blushing until she turned away in another direction showing that he had read her mind and her heart. To further add to the excitement, her friend pulls out a can next to her bottle which says “single”. That storyline right there was sufficient to bring the whole crowd at that event to grab their bottles and cans to drink. While the music continues to amplify, the meaning along with it did too. The end of the advert showed that you don’t need to get everything right, you just need to have enough bottles to win everyone’s heart. 

           Linking this back to the medium is the message, which shows how one just needs to be able to resonate with the story that the production company is trying to convey but don’t have to necessarily fancy the product itself or be a huge fan. As long as the story can evoke some sort of emotion or portray a level of meaning, their job is considered partially successful. YouTube is not the only medium used as this is an advert that would be playing on multiple channels on the television as well. The wider the reach, the more influence it has on creating a symbiotic relationship.  The blending of media is correlated with changes and technological advancement in societies and one of the most common ways to break in any system is through cross-fertilization with another system. This means that if an idea can apply to business settings or platforms then the chances of it being viral are higher. Moreover, importing and mixing ideas from different places, markets, or people aids in the production of better goods, media, and services as the medium is what matters in ensuring that the message has been delivered across not the message itself. 

           Lastly, to capture the viewer’s attention, the message must be produced exaggeratedly as it needs to set itself apart from reality. People need to desire the product after watching the advertisement, this can be done by creating an illusion with a storyline. The coke advertisement was able to show that an individual can woo anyone in the world with a bottle or a can of coke as long as it is specifically tailored to you. They created this illusion by labeling the products with their specific labels so it appears more directed to an individual’s needs. 

technologies are the medium of the media messages

Overall about the revolution of mass media within the society, there has been many periods of different forms of media communication due to different usages of different technology eras where these technologies are the medium of the media messages. For example, we would say that since the start of technology, the first ever technology used as a form of media communication would be radio. Radio and its transmission have been firstly used for the purpose of communication during war times whereas time progresses, radio develops on to become the channel (medium) for people to covey media messages towards large audiences in forms of i.e. Radio talk shows that can share the media messages about many different subject matters. Radio despite being the first accountable technology communication medium, nowadays people still do listen to radios but through different mediums (back in the days, radio used to be played from physical small rectangle boxes with signal poles on them, whereas nowadays people normalize listening to radio within our cars). Radio has also somehow evolved into a new different alternative over the years as it branches out becoming what we call ‘podcasts’ nowadays. Podcasts are just like radio but are more related to specific subject matters and storytelling where podcasts are released as episodes differentiating from radio that doesn’t actually count their airing as episodes.

Developing on from radio technology, Television comes into play where. Televisions have also been evolving for a long time. Nowadays we have smart tv where it’s almost a digital mix of internet space through the transmission medium of television. From black and white image transmission to now full on 4KHD image transmission, television has also developed massively over the decade. Relating to McLuhan’s theory, we can relate ‘medium is the message’ to the use of television as nowadays we all know that for example, news and social announcements that are presented through television can highlight that it’s worthy of its content matter that its implying (a real important subject matter enough to be transmitted through television). In a case like this, television is already actually the message itself that represents how important or serious something can actually be.

Initially the mass media is just about the media itself where that’s not the current case as to now, mass media can also be a way for people to start their careers in many different aspects. Mass media has become the path for many careers to start off for example: Youtubers, online stores, creators, online course tutors, blogger, vlogger, copywriter, translator, actor, actress, hosts, authors, directors, programmers and much more. Especially in today’s time where the pandemic is happening everywhere, mass media has become even more frequently used amongst millions of people than ever before.

Before all the technologies became part of the mass media, newspaper, magazines and paper media sources are the mass media that have been used where this form of mass media have also evolved as there are online versions of these mass media nowadays such as E-books, E-magazines where everything comes in form of a file online making things much more convenient, pocketable and helps save the environment even more. However, despite the online path being useful, it does also come along with the cons of online forms of mass media. Firstly, by having everything online in this age, cultural identities are starting to diminish slowly as books and paper resources are also a form of medium that can represent cultural identities and have been passed on from generation to generation. By changing mass media to all be online, it actually somehow influences the society’s behaviors too as less people can become interested in the physical form of media like books or magazines. Secondly, Individualism can happen. This means that more people using mass media can cause there to be less human interactions in real life as people spend too much time on the internet or watching something from the mass media. Thirdly, people can become less productive from the cause of mass media affecting them. People can be using mass media instead of spending time doing productive alternatives like work, exercise, self-development. Fourth, mass media doesn’t necessarily portray the reality of something as the contents that they transmit/communicate can be controlled by those with high powers for their own benefit.  These controllers may be politicians or even just business people who want to determine the direction of an issue in the public domain

 To sum up, mass media during this pandemic time can be useful and also can be harmful to people depending on how they use mass media and are accountable for their own responsibilities. Mass media have evolved from time to time as it will definitely continue to evolve further in the future. The use of mass media will continue as people have different mindsets when using them.