Mass communication is a process of transmitting message to a large number of scattered audiences. Through mass communication, information can be transmitted quickly to a large number of people who generally stay far away from the sources of information. Mass communication is done through radio, television, newspaper, magazine, leaflets etc. some definitions of mass communication are as follows:
According to Metha, “Mass communication is concerned with transmitting information, thoughts and opinions, entertainments etc. at a time to a large number of heterogeneous audiences.
According to Emery and others, “Mass communication is a process of sending a message, thought and attitude through some media at a time to a large number of heterogeneous audiences.”
According to R. P. Molo, “Mass communication is a process through which an individual, organization or govt. communicates with the general people.”
Sydney Head 1976 suggests that mass communication contains at least following five things:
- Large audience
- Similar audience exists
- Some form of message reproduction
- Quick distribution of message
- Low unit cost to the customers.
- The Flow Of Mass Communication
So, Mass communication is a process of transmitting information, thoughts, opinions, and or attitude through specific channel or media to a large number of heterogeneous audiences.
Features or characteristics of mass communication
Mass communication is a communication which is occurred between large people. Actually mass communication is processes through which a message is widely circulated among the persons who are far and away from the source. The main characteristic of mass communication is as follows:
Specific objectives: Every communication has a specific objective. Without objectives no communication is held. Mass communication has also a specific objective which is depend on the subject matter of communication.
Common messages: Mass communication transmits or delivers same simultaneously messages to vast diverse and scattered audiences.
Source of message: The sources of mass communication message generally are a person or group operating within an organizational setting. Examples of these sources are news reporters, television producers and magazine editors etc.
Messages are sophisticated and complex: In mass communication, messages are sophisticated and complex. Whereas the message in interpersonal communication may be simple words and short sentences, mass media messages are quite elaborate. Examples of mass media message are a news report, a novel, a movie, a television program, a magazine article, a newspaper column, a music video, and a billboard advertisement.
Limited information: Such audiences are brought together by a single shared interest in the particular message available through the mass medium. Message sources generally have only limited information about their audiences.
Mass medium: Radio, Television, Internet etc are examples of media which are regarded as mass media because they can reach out to vast audience at a time.
Impersonality: Messages of mass communication have remained impersonal since there is no personal touch of a medium. The impersonality of mass communication is informed by the need to reach large, diverse and scattered audiences almost at the same time.
Portability and mobility: Portability has to do with the fact that messages of mass communication are handy and that the medium through which the messages are passing could be carried form one place to another at any geographical location.
Universality: This refers to the extensiveness or commonness of a medium and acceptability of messages. A person does not need to be literate or educate in particular language before listens to a radio program or a watch television program in that native language.
Permanency: This refers to the period for which a medium can hold its message thereby making the message reviewable. A reader of a book, newspapers and magazines can read and re-read and store it for a long term.
Large number of audiences: In mass communication, information reaches to large and vast number of heterogeneous audiences. The audiences of mass communication exceed millions after millions.
Heterogeneous and scattered audiences: The audiences of mass communication are not only large but also heterogeneous and diverse type. They actually are made up of groups of people with dissimilar background, demographics and socio-political characteristics.
Personally unknown audiences: The audiences of mass communication are personally unknown for the communicator because of audiences’ dissimilar background, demographics and sociopolitical characteristics.
Separate contests of information: Individuals reading newspapers, watching a film in a theater, listening to radio or watching television are situations where audience is large, heterogeneous and anonymous in character and physically separated from the communicator both in terms of space and time.
Cover vast boundaries: The audiences of mass communication are spread over a vast or wide geographic area.
Communication is mostly one way: Mass communication is a one too many form of communication, whereby products are mass produced and disseminated to a great quantity of audiences.
Delayed feedback: Feedback in mass media is slow and weak message flow typically is one-way, form source to receiver. Traditionally, feedback has been minimal and generally delayed. A newspaper reader could write a letter to the editor but it remains limited and delayed.
Use of modern technological media: Channels of mass media use modern technology. Radio, involves tape machines, microphones, devices that digitize sound waves transmitters that disseminate them and receiving units that decode the sound waves and render them back into audio form approximating the original.
Rapid and continuous dissemination: In mass communication, information rapidly reaches and continuous disseminate to large and vast number of heterogeneous audiences.
Noise: Like other forms of mediated communication, noise exists in the mass context. Noise may be semantic, environmental or mechanical.