The Place of the Media in the Society and How Mass Media and Society Are Utilitarian of Each Other
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Overview of Sociology of the MediaIn order to carefully articulate an explicit exposé of the nature of Mass Media and Society, it is imperative to explain to major concepts found in the terminology vis: Mass Media, Society. The two concepts would be expatiated using scholarly definition of the terms.MASS MEDIASeveral notable scholars in mass communication and other social science subjects have come up with their ideologies of what mass media is all about.Joseph Dominick (2009:36) defines the term as “a medium is the channel through which a message travels from the source to the receiver (medium” as singular, media” is plural). According to him, the means through which message flows from a source to a receiver consist of both technologies involved in distributing message to audience and also the parties who control the technologies distributing these message. This is because, the success of transmitting mass media content lies between the parties aforementioned.Mc Quail (2000) has his own definition of the term as “an organised means of communicating openly and at a distance to many receivers within a short space of time”. From this definition, he sees the mass media as a channel through which a sender sends a message from a distance to many receivers, who would receive same message in a short time in close or wide proximity. The proximity here is in terms of how close or far the sender is from the audience, or among receivers themselves.Among the few definitions given, some factors are necessary to come up with a general definition of mass media. Mass media has a systematic channel through which messages are transmitted to a wide audience where they receive it virtually at the same time. Without this means (technology assisted), it would be uneasy for a sender to relay messages to a mass audience while breaking barrier of time and space.SOCIETYThe term in the subtopic above also has scholarly definitions which would be demystified in subsequent paragraphs.A sociologist, George Simmel in Daramola (2005:2) defines society as “a number of individuals connected by interactions.” His definition is simple in its means as he sees society to exist when people have something to do with each other. Although his numbering was not specific, it can be insinuated that even a very small number of people can comprise of a society, for as long as they interact with each other.Equally, an anthropologist, Ralph Linton sees society as “any group of people who have lived and worked together long enough to think of themselves as a social unit with well-defined limits.” Linton’s view posit that society becomes in existence when a group of people have a linkage with each other who later grow to see each other as an entity. There also exist set of rules of engagements to be followed which people have dealings with each other. Anybody who goes beyond a limit always have a form of penalty to pay.
The definitions also have things in common. They both contain the interaction of people within a defined geographical area as no man is an island. They often have something to do with their fellow homo sapiens and the environment in which they live in. This they do in order to achieve a particular purpose.Based on the definition on mass media and society, I see the course “Sociology of the Media” as one which generally tries to seek explanations on how and why people interact the way they do in various societies. It also tries to examine how the media contribute to the way humans relate with themselves and the environment they find themselves in. This is due to the fact that communication (verbal or non-verbal) is necessary to stimulate interactions between two or more people to achieve one goal or the other. As a result of various interactions, a lot positive and negative reactions come up which can make or mar a society we live in. The mass media (print, broadcast, new and social media) also contribute to the level at which people interact with each other which helps in social cohesion and unity. That does not mean that the media does not have its ways in which it initiate negative interactions among people.As a result of the acknowledgement of these, many theories have been formed to explain the relationships that exist between the mass media and society. This is what the course would open the mental imagery to all students studying the course.THE PLACE OF MASS MEDIA IN THE SOCIETYOver time (long before mass media evolved to the level of new and social media), the relationship between the mass media and society has always been described as ‘symbiotic’ as they both need each other for their survival. If one concept is absent, the other would fall short and collapse within a short time. In order to explain this better, several scholars how written extensively on the importance on the mass media is to the society.According to Campbell et al (2012), they begin the analysis by explaining that the mass media serves as a means through which humans depends on a large scale, varieties of information to suit their daily needs and also serve as a ‘cultural industry’. Humans generally are a form of naïve scientist by which they attempt to seek answers to many problems that affect them. As a result, they depend on information to feed their voracious desire of their quest for knowledge, which would be used to provide solution to their daily needs. The mass media is the source by which all sort of information (informative, educative or entertaining) can be retrieved at any point in time. As a result of people knowing how vast the realm of information the media has, people in societies depend on the medium to obtain what they need and also have a form of gratification from the contents of mass media.