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The History Of Mass Media

We are familiar with the term “Mass Media”; but what really is: “Mass Media”?

Mass Media is defined as “information distributed to people on a large scale”. What we call mass media today is television, radio, movies, newspapers, the Internet, magazines and books, just about anything that can give a lot of information at one time to a lot of people. Even billboards are a form of “Mass Media”, and advertising is its tool.

But, mass media, believe it or not, is not new. It’s actually been around, in one form or another, for thousands of years; long before the term “Mass Media” was even coined. In fact, just about any form of message or information can be called “mass media” because, regardless of the medium, it still uses words and sounds. Writing and public speaking, after all, is the earliest “mass media”; that is, sending information or messages to a large group of people. The ancient Greek orator and the Roman Senator declaiming to the crowds in the Forum were using mass media – himself, and his voice – to reach a large group of people. And that’s what “Mass Media” is about: information for the “masses”.

In ancient times, “mass media” was primarily the human voice orating to the masses. But when paper was developed and books became more affordable to the masses, books became the Mass Media, and stayed that way for centuries.

But books were cumbersome and heavy to carry in quantity; it was only when the age of the wireless telegraph, the telephone and radio, movies and finally television and finally the Internet that made “mass media” truly “massive”.