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Media Literacy and Culture, The Internet, Theories of Mass Communication

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Fides Avendan

on 9 January 2013

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Transcript of Media Literacy and Culture, The Internet, Theories of Mass Communication

Media Literacy and Culture The Internet Theories of Mass Communication Mass Communication In preliterate cultures knowledge was passed on orally. In Time With the advent of writing, literacy became more highly valued than memory. After Gutenberg's invention of the printing press, literacy spread to all levels of society and by the mid-19th century, a middle class with discretionary time and income had emerged, providing a mass audience of readers. Understanding the ways in which media impact individuals and society is an important aspect of media literacy. Other elements include an understanding of the process of mass communication and an awareness of media content as a "text" that provides insight into contemporary culture. In order to develop our media literacy, we must be able to understand the process by which media sends messages and learn to analyze those messages. This requires an ability and willingness to analyze media messages, knowledge of genre conventions, and an ability to distinguish emotional from reasoned reactions. By increasing our critical awareness, we can make better choices from among media’s content. The Internet was inspired by Joseph C.R. Licklider's vision of a nationwide network of computers, and further developed by the U.S. military. Personal computers made the Internet available to non-institutional users. The most common uses of the Internet are accessing World Wide Web files, using e-mail, and participating in mailing lists and USENET groups. It is difficult to estimate the number of Internet users. Usage continues to increase with teenage girls now the fastest growing group of users. The development of online commerce has been controversial, since many of the original Internet users object to their medium being overtaken by commercialization. MP3, audio file compression software, is a form of convergence that is changing the distribution of music dramatically. The Internet allows every user to become a publisher. This property has raised First Amendment issues related to misinformation, online pornography, and copyright protection. Privacy is another concern, regarding both online communication and easy access to personal information. The Internet is increasingly being used as a political forum in which citizens can communicate directly with elected officials, but runs the risk of closing out those who lack sufficient media literacy. There are many theories of mass communication. The paradigms of these theories shift as new technologies and new media are introduced. Mass communication theory has passed through four eras. The era of mass society saw media as all-powerful and audiences as defenceless against their effects. In the era of the scientific perspective, research showed that media affected some people much more strongly than others, often according to social characteristics. The era of limited effects theory included several theories, including attitude change theory and the uses and gratifications approach. Recognizing the power of media effects, theorists discussed agenda setting, dependency theory, and social cognitive theory. Contemporary mass communication theory can be called the era of cultural theory. Media effects are seen as shaped by audience members’ involvement in the process and reality is seen as socially constructed. Gerbnerís cultivation analysis and critical cultural theory are two important examples of contemporary theories. Mass media helped to unify diverse cultures
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