Man is a social animal and his need to communicate with everything that surrounds him is as basic as his need for food or hunger. Even in the prehistoric age when communication was as basic signing to one another, man found a way to sign and connect. The need for communication was so strong that he developed the skill for speech and language which further grew into a written language. The Chinese invented the paper by the 1st century AD. In the 8th century AD, the Arabs managed to manufacture paper but the age of print began only after Gutenberg press was invented in the 15th century and started printed in Europe. This finally led to the beginning of the communication era when the radio, film, and television came to be. But it was the progress in information technology that allowed the movement of mass communication to pick pace and gain some traction.
The emergence of radio, film, and television allowed anyone to present their view to large groups with more ease. But it needed a certain level of skill. Which led to the studies of subjects like advertising, journalism, audio/video production and more. While these platforms allowed messages to be relayed, it gave the audience a very limited scope to participate and present their views on same subject. Even the amount of information one could gain was restricted to the choice of what was given to him. Information sharing was still largely a one-way communication making it difficult to analyse the effectiveness of the message relayed. All this changed when the information age garnered pace and gave the world the internet or as we know it the World Wide Web.
The web allowed people to initiate conversations with people with more ease and even allow people to respond back. It gave people the privilege of writing back too. Information was a lot more accessible. E-mails took the world by a storm. And as the technology front grew, even the different things that could be done over the internet grew. Websites had been around for a while but the concept of blogging gained traction. Owning and maintaining blogs became easier and easier, granting people the freedom to openly present information and allow others to not just view but also respond. Information became more accessible and people began to explore and enjoy the freedom of being able to respond back to a communication aimed at them. And our marketers jumped on the ship to gain good traction out of the same!
The growth of technology didn’t end there and the direction that mass communication experts took followed it. And the game changer that came into play revolutionising the very way people communicated over the internet was the concept of social media and micro blogging. Which brings us to the current trend in mass communication.
Blogs take some time to develop and they required a certain level of writing skills. This limited the proportion of people who were information contributors as compared to information consumers. E-mails definitely made it easier to send across this information written but how many people could one send it to. It had limitation that you need to know a person’s email id. All of that changed when the social media entered the game. Before social media, it was impossible to know what a former classmate you haven’t heard from in years was doing or what your favourite celebrities’ opinion on a matter is. You probably wouldn’t even have a way to get in touch with your former classmate. Where would you send the email? Social media allowed for a larger number of people to come together at one place and just speak about anything and everything under the sun! And where the people went, the marketers followed.
The emergence of networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other microblogging sites gained so much popularity among the people that it brands simply could not ignore them as a platform to their marketing strategies. With technology persisting in its growth, these platforms now even allow businesses to go beyond advertising and branding. You can have your own online store on Facebook! Twitter, one of the first microblogging sites and the fastest way to spread the news, now allows ads. These platforms allow people to filter out information and only see what they like. This exclusivity is only growing by the day. This allows the marketers so much more in the scope to target their communication exactly to their targeted audience. Mass communication today, really holds true to its meaning with the potential to actually reach to the world and have the worlds reach back towards you.
With the changing ways and the new digital forefront, even the direction in studying of mass communication courses has expanded and allowing for the study of digital marketing. That is proof enough of the impact technology has had. But what comes next? Who knows? The future is limitless and even more so for the concept of mass communications!