We have come a long way from sharing things with our community to sharing them with the world. All this is made possible because of mass communication, a type of communication. Now we have the Internet, which connects the world, creating a platform for anyone to share and know everything. We also have various types of mass media such as social media, digital media, television, and radio which promote mass communication. Even though we are more connected than we ever were, it’s still paradoxical, considering it leads to isolation. We will look at both the advantages and disadvantages of mass communication in this analysis.
Advantages of Mass Communication
The biggest benefit of mass communication is that it makes communication among larger audiences feasible. Here are some other benefits:
1. Global communication
Thanks to mass communication, we can now stay connected to each other more. Considering we can communicate globally, creating awareness among the public has become attainable. This is especially good news when it comes to creating awareness about health and the environment. It provides a medium people can use to educate themselves and follow actions that have a positive impact, all the while making the world a better place. And, in times of crisis, it allows others to send help.
2. Freedom of expression
There was a time when not everyone was allowed to express their thoughts and opinions. Even if they were, they didn’t have the means to do so. But, those days are gone now. Mass communication has made it possible for everyone to express themselves freely, giving them a voice. It is easily accessible, so people don’t have to go out of their way to support what they believe in. They can use social and digital media where their voices will be heard by millions and billions of people.
3. Business communication
For businesses to prosper, they should be able to acquire more customers and retain the existing ones. What’s a better way to achieve this goal than using mass communication? If it were not for advertisements and marketing, the customers wouldn’t know about the existence of various brands, making it difficult for them to do business. Using business communication, it has become easier to build a good customer base.
4. Helps spread Art and Culture
Mass communication is a tool that can help the wide spread of traditional art and culture with ease. This era of the internet has truly helped mass communication by giving it wings. Previously, only newspapers and radio shows could attract new enthusiasts to enjoy the finer traditional culture, but today, we have numerous social media platforms that can advertise and propagate the value of traditions and culture. People are even actively trying to do something new with their culture in hopes of making it trending, thus advocating for the need for such avenues in our lives.
5. Network of information
Right from performing a simple search function to learning courses, the Internet has got you covered. Social media allows anyone to learn anything they are interested in, and there is no shortage of information. It allows easy electronic duplication of information, thus making mass education possible. Along with this, it saves a lot of costs that are otherwise spent on the production of information. Apart from educational purposes, people can use mass media for entertainment purposes.
6. Promotes diversity
Since we can communicate worldwide using mass communication, diversity comes naturally. You might have come across TV and radio programs that are dedicated to exploring different cultures globally. It promotes diversity and lets the world know about diverse art and culture. It can be a great learning experience to see the world from different perspectives. And, not only that, you can basically travel the world virtually without actually going there. It shows the cultural practices and beliefs of various groups, allowing you to learn something new every time.
Disadvantages of Mass Communication
You might have heard that powerful people own mass media. There is definitely some truth to it, making it a disadvantage of mass communication. Here are some other drawbacks:
1. Unreliable news
It’s said you should believe half of what you see and none of what you hear, and there is a reason behind it. But, most of the mass media is about what we see and hear. It can be used by powerful people to show the public what they want and make them believe it. Moreover, the unreliability of news can have consequences. Since it is easy to spread misinformation through media, it can be used to manipulate people. These spreads lie among the masses and create a hateful environment.
2. Health concerns
Along with using media to change people’s mindsets, it can also lead to physical health issues. Sometimes the news and information can get so addictive that people spend their whole day watching them. And, these results in eyesight and hearing problems. If you have experienced this, you know how unproductive it makes you feel at the end of the day. It feels worse knowing that you have wasted your time, consuming unwanted content because you were distracted.
3. It can promote wrong values
One of the major drawbacks of mass media is that it may promote the wrong virtues. How often have you seen content that promotes smoking, drugs, and other censored topics? Despite being harmful to public health, mass media still promotes and even glamorizes them. In addition to this, they showcase harmful stunts, which, when performed by people, can lead to personal injuries. Additionally, some media contents are not appropriate for children. This leads to another drawback: manually limiting their access to this type of content can be a chore.
4. Mass communication can be used to promote Hate and Disinformation
Since mass communication can plant an idea in our midst, there is no guarantee that others won’t misuse it. It is a powerful tool, especially today when everyone has an outlet just a finger touch away. This ease of convenience has also made communication technology a tool for promoting hate and propagating disinformation. Objectively speaking, such attempts are, more often than not, part of a larger narrative, aligning with some agenda.
But the vastness of this mode of communication and its dynamic nature also helps cover any shady on goings. As a result, people could come to believe such negative thoughts and ideals to be the norm and trust any disinformation solely because of the source. One famous example is the spread of fake news and untruthful facts over popular mass communication platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp. Modern technology and communication should be used wisely, for the good.
4. Compromised privacy
The relationship between mass media and the security of personal information is quite complicated. There have been a lot of data breach incidents which has forced people to think about their compromised privacy. The mass media reaches out to a large audience, making millions of them vulnerable to data exploitation. To deal with these privacy issues, tighter regulations are imposed, and companies are held accountable. But this is not enough, and individuals should be careful about what they share on social media.
Even though the mass media can be used to spread information, the truth is that it can be exploited just as easily. In recent times, the frequency of hacking has increased. Most of the time, social networks are hacked. Furthermore, along with individuals, corporate accounts are hacked, leading to massive losses. The personal details of the users shared online are hacked by cybercriminals, and used against them. So, while media allows for mass communication, the intentions of participants aren’t always genuine.