Table of Contents
Since the 20th century, mass media has rapidly developed into a network of media platforms. As major media developments continue to arise, American culture is manipulated and media convergence alters everyday life. As international borders are challenged by technology, media availabilities and options differ for audiences in the United States and other parts of the world.
20th Century Developments
The evolution of mass media progressed gradually in the past century. The beginning of the 20th century was typified by the dominance of printed newspapers and carious periodicals and there was no competition at all. There was no internet and cell phones to make communication to the people easier and fast. The newspapers and magazines depended on world events to make their content. The radio was invented in the 1940’s and later became the leading form of mass media during and after the Second World War (Blanchard, 2013). The radio was preferred to the newspapers as it would transmit news about the war faster as the people wanted to be informed about the war and to receive updates on the wellbeing of their families overseas (Blanchard, 2013).
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Campbell et al. (2010) note that the radio conveyed information to the places that were inaccessible by newspapers. Almost at the same time, telephone emerged as a form of conveying information to people in distant places. Telephone used wires to communicate, unlike the radio that used waves. This also made radio accessible to the people in places that could not be accessed by telephone wires (Blanchard, 2013). The use of telephone and newspapers gave the newly developed nations a platform to puff up their financial and military prowess and transmit information in convenient time.
Ten years later, television was invented and the first communication satellite was placed in the universe. Soon the television replaced radio and the telephone. The television combined both the print and radio by bringing sound and picture together (Blanchard, 2013). This brought about the rock and roll humanitarian attempts by people since they could see moving pictures of the current happenings of the world. By this time the space technology and travel was developed and the world could access information on the current updates on what was going on across the world (Blanchard, 2013).
The development of the satellite technology facilitated the rise of television stations that could run 24 hours providing news on what was happening across the world in real-time. This advancement made the newspapers less relevant and offered the people choices on how they would like to receive their news. By the end of the 20th century, almost half of the American population owned cable television. The internet was developed towards the end of the century (Campbell et al., 2016). The internet made it easy for information to be transmitted through computers. This gave people the platform to share their views as well as access information. It was within the 20th century that the world moved from relying on print as the only form of mass media to relying on the internet and television.
Influencing American Culture
The development of mass media in the 20th century exposed the Americans to different forms of entertainment such as music and movies. The availability of the radio and televisions to almost all the homesteads made it easy for anyone within the nation to gain the same exposure as an individual living in the big cities (Campbell et al., 2016). While these forms of mass media made information available to a huge mass of American people, it slowly commenced to standardize styles, tastes and stand points among distinct groups within United States. Ethnic and class differences were slowly being eroded as the various forms of mass media conveyed music and movies to the people (Jin, 2011). This did not proceed without resistance from a faction that criticized the progressing standardization of tastes that lowered them and sought to appease a huge proportion of people instead of promoting complex tastes. However, the progress of mass media made culture more democratic since many more people could access modern technologies and other forms of mass media (Campbell et al., 2016).
During this century, mass entertainment increased its reach among the Americans and retrogressed its influence focus as the rest of the continents became patrons of the American culture (Campbell et al., 2016). The development of the forms of mass media made America the dominant cultural source for renowned fashion and entertainment such as t-shirts and jeans that the young people would wear in their music videos and movies (Campbell et al., 2016). The youth also emulated the fashions of their rock stars. The development of American movies expanded across the world and people in other parts of the world defined what was happening in the world only by noting the current happenings and politics in America. Through the television and the internet, the American entertainment has continued to influence the world. The internet played a vital role in spreading the effects of the American culture across America and the world since information was available at the click of a button (Campbell et al., 2016).
Media convergence refers to bringing different forms of mass media together through numerous digital media platforms. The merging of this forms of media makes everyday life simpler since information is available to people on things or items they require in their life (Campbell et al., 2016). Additionally, the combination of these media makes it possible for businesses to access other markets. Media convergence has affected the daily life by making news readily available to people (Blanchard, 2013). Instead of having to wait for news on television, one can go to the station’s website and get the news before.
Availabilities and Options
The offerings of the American media are different from those of other parts of the world. This can be attributed to the stature that the government offers to the press, which is almost similar to that of the other arms of the government. The technological advancement of the country has made its offerings better and easily accessible among the Americans, even though it is expanding to the other parts of the world (Campbell et al., 2016).
The historical overview of mass media offers a perspective of the forms of mass media in the 20th century. Print media and telephone were the most common form of media at the beginning of the century and was soon replaced by radio, which offered real time updates on the World War II. Television was later invented and it offered people both visual and audio and soon offered a 24-hour update after the setup of the satellite in space. With the invention of computers, the internet took over and made information accessible to everyone. Radio and television contributed to the erosion of the ethnic and class differences as they conveyed music and movies to the American people and brought about new fashion that was adopted uniformly by not only Americans but the rest of the world.
- Blanchard, M. A. (2013). History of the Mass Media in the United States: An Encyclopedia. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.
- Campbell, R., Martin, C., & Fabos, B. (2016). Media and Culture: Mass Communication in Digital Age (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
- Jin, D. Y. (2011). Global media convergence and cultural transformation: Emerging social patterns and characteristics. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.