Effects of Media on Communication


Effectsof Media on Communication

Effectsof Media on Communication

Themedia refers to any channel of communication that passes a messagefrom the sender to the recipient, including print media, mass media,Television, Radio, and Social media. The internet is also anothermedium of communication through which people communicate. Nowadays,the internet and other computer-based mechanisms have becomeessential media of communication. All these communication mediacontribute positively and negatively to communication. According toSpears et al (2002), the media has positive and negative socialeffects on communication. Because communication is a social aspectthat affects the interaction of people in a society, the mode ofcommunication is always an essential aspect to be considered. Themedia affects how people collaborate and interact in their naturalenvironment (Salinas, 2005). This research paper argues that themedia has contributed positively and negatively to communication ithas made communication easier and improved social presence andinteraction among people in the society, although it has alsoencouraged irresponsive social behaviours in communication such aspower inequalities, abuse, cybercrime, violence and sexualimmoralities.

Mediahas made communication and interaction easier and more beneficial inmany ways. One of the benefits of media in communication is that itliberates media users from inequalities and social influences bybridging information gaps in the society. When engaging inface-to-face communications, people are usually exposed to socialinfluences and biases which are not encountered when media such asemail and letters are used. For example, when using face-to-facecommunication, a powerful party in the communication may exertpressure, threats and other tools of power that hinders the libertyand freedom of the other party to express himself or herself. Withthe use of media other than face-to-face conversations, none of theparties can experience such pressures. A good example of thissituation occurs when a teacher talks harshly to a student such thatthe student fears to ask questions in class due to the fear of beingpunished. With the use of letter, email or telephone call to theteacher, the student may be able to communicate freely and askquestions related to class work easily without being subjected tosocial influence of threats from the teacher. This liberty andfreedom occurs because visual anonymity associated with various mediaof communication results in important psychological impacts. Spearset al (2002) argue that conditions of anonymity results inderegulated social behaviours and liberty.

Mediaof communication also eliminates unnecessary barriers ofcommunication in everyday life. For example, when two people want tocommunicate in a noisy class where face-to-face communication isinaudible, the communicating parties may use a piece of letter orsocial media and text applications to communicate with each otherbecause such media are silent and can break the barrier of noise.This makes communication easy. Media also plays the role of breakingbarrier of differences in status, culture and language. People fromdifferent social statuses can use the same media of communicationwithout barriers (Trenz, 2008). For example, the radio, televisionand internet have become cheap and accessible to many people fromdifferent social status. On the contrary, face-to-face communicationmay limit the communication between different social classes becausepeople from a lower social class may not feel comfortable to interactand communicate freely with members of a higher social class. Bybreaking the barrier of social status, the media between differentsocial groups becomes easier.

Themedia such as radio and television also reduces language and culturalbarriers by interpreting different languages and transmitting newsand information using different languages and considering differentcultural background (Trenz, 2008). For example, a person speakingSpanish may access news from an English speaking nation like USAthrough an international Spanish Television Station which has itsEnglish and Spanish speaking reporters in United States. Sometelevision and radio stations also act as means of communicatingdifferent cultural practices and information. For example, mostmodern television stations have reality shows in which trendingissues in fashion, politics, entertainment and religion arediscussed. People learn different cultures through such shows.Therefore, communication about contemporary issues and provision ofimportant information becomes easier when various media ofcommunication such as television and radio are used.

Themedia also breaks the barrier of interruption during communication.When people communicate face-to-face, they usually engage in turntaking where both parties exchange messages, information and ideas inturns (Spears, 2002). Usually, the parties may interrupt each other,making communication difficult or even at times impossible. Whenmedia such as social media, emails, internet, fax and letters areused, parties rarely interrupt each other. this makes communicationto flow easily. Some media of communication such as television,radio, internet and letters do not allow people to interrupt eachother because none of the members may know what the other party saysuntil all the information he or she wants to give have been compiledin one conversational floor. For instance, people sending each otheremails cannot interrupt each other because one party waits until theother party compiles all his information in one email before writinghis or her email in response.

Mediaalso enhances improved interaction and social presence in a widersociety. Salinas (2005) suggests that communication media enablescollaborators to accomplish social richness and social presence.Social psychological studies show that media transmits socialinformation as people interact through them. Media channels such astelephone, video conferencing and emails enable people to interactand create a virtual reality which makes the participants to feeltheir social presence in a wider society. According to Salinas(2005), social presence in the cyberspace enhances interaction amongpeople from different parts of the world, and makes exchange ofinformation easier among collaborators. The social presence alsoenables people who rarely meet to work together and exchange usefulideas and information across various media of communication. In thisregard, media have broken the barriers of distance in communicationbecause people can communicate easily from different parts of theworld. For example, a student may move from China to America to studyand communicates regularly and easily with his or her parents. He orshe feels their social presence despite the distance between them.The same student may also communicate with other students across theworld through web 2.0 applications, dashboards, discussion boards andsocial media in order to exchange information that will help them intheir education.

Mediaalso plays an important role in provision of important information tochange the lives of people positively. For example, Isaacs (2014)suggested that the social media plays a significant epidemiologicalrole. Public health institutions provide information about spread andinfectivity of diseases such as cholera and malaria through thesocial media such as twitter and facebook. Business and non-profitorganisations also use media such as social media and mass media toprovide information about their products and services to the public(Hochheimer, 2007). They communicate easily with their existing andpotential customers and other stakeholders in order to pass importantinformation to them. For example, business organisations may use thesocial media to pass information such as AGM dates, dividend issuefor shareholders, introduction of new products, change of pricing,and other important information.

Despitethe positive roles played media in communication, there are also somenegative effects of media in communication. First, it causes lack ofunderstanding between the sender and recipient of the informationbecause the sender is not physically available to explain the meaningof the message that he delivers (Ayish, 2005). Media channels such asemail and the social media involve sending a message through theinternet without direct communication using face-to-face approach.The parties involved in such communication media methods do not get achance to interact personally. For example, the recipient is not ableto tell the recipient about things that he or she did not understandimmediately. Instead, response is given after a while, which may betoo late for the purpose of the message. Delayed response makesunderstanding between the two parties to become difficult. In thisregard, face-to-face communication becomes superior because therecipient of the message can look at the reaction of the sender andunderstand the message easily. Furthermore, media communication lacksimmediate feedback which makes communication between the partiesdifficult.

Mediaalso encourages deception and lying in communication. This leadscommunicating parties to lose trust on each other. According toSpears (2002), the anonymity of the media people manipulateinformation through various media especially internet media in orderto serve their personal interests. In fact, some people adoptdifferent gender in order to achieve certain personal and politicalagenda. Businesses and organisations also engage in deception throughthe internet by advertising their products using false informationabout them. The public do not understand a lot about the products andservices of various organisations and they desperately look for anyinformation they get (Ayish, 2005). As a result, website ownersformulate messages that seemingly entice people and attract a largefollowing no matter the deception the messages carry. Because the lienever lasts, when the followers know the truth they lose their truston the organisation or business.

Indeed,the media is essential in enhancing effective communication. However,the media may also lead to negative effects on the users in terms ofcommunication. Research and past studies have shown that mediaincluding email, television, print media, and social media makecommunication easier. The media causes easy communication because itbreaks the barriers of communication such as geographical barriers(distance), noise, and cultural and language differences. It alsoenables users to interact and enjoy social presence in a virtualreality where they work together and share information to improvetheir lives. Furthermore, communication is made easier by the socialmedia through provision of information that people need tocommunicate and improve their lives. Media also causes negativeeffects. The anonymity of the internet as a media of communicationcauses cyber bullying and other related cyber crimes. It also leadsto deception which causes lack of trust by the communicating parties.


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Hochheimer,J.L. (2007). Building logos via communication media: Facilitatingpeace through reconciliation. Javnost,14(4),55-72.

Isaacs,D. (2014). Social Media and Communication. Journalof Paediatrics and Child Health, 50, 421-422.

Salinas,E. (2005). Effects of Communication Mode on Social Presence, VirtualPresence, and Performance in Collaborative Virtual Environments.Presence,14(4), 434-449.

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