We are in a time when the mass media is redefining itself at a level unmatched in human history. In fact, basic definitions of various long established mass media are rapidly evolving to include digital formats that would have seemed the stuff of science fiction a few years ago. Because of the rapid changes in mass media over the past several decades, this research will discuss the key subtopics related to mass media in an effort to better understand it overall.
Mass Media Functions of Today’s Smart Phones and the I-Phone The evolution of mass media is quite literally a path that blazes through the history of the advancement of the human race. From the days when the ability to share the printed word on a large scale via the printing press to the telegraph, telephone, television and today the Internet and of course the smart phone, what has been seen is a way for the people of the world to communicate and for information such as news, advertising and the like to be spread.
The mass media functions of today’s smart phones represent a tremendous advancement in mass media because the modern smart phone combines communication functions with the ability for the user of the smart phone to obtain information, be entertained, conduct business and to be marketed to by smart advertisers who are now harnessing smart phone technology to advertise products and services to a society that seems to be addicted to the use of the smart phone (Godwin-Jones).
Overall, the I-Phone represents an innovation over its predecessors because of the user-friendly interface which gives the user of the phone the ability to load his or her own content into the phone, such as MP3 and video as well as the ability to access other available broadcast and downloadable material (Cortada). What this represents is an opportunity for the user to make the smart phone an extension of their own tastes in entertainment, and for the marketing of specific content, based on user interests.
Today’s Early Adopters and Smart Phones Early adopters are in fact making the very most of the smart phone technology that is readily available today. Taking the utility of the smart phone far beyond the amazing ability to communicate with others in the blink of an eye, the smart phone is used today for commerce, the protection of the common order and safety, and to literally launch an entirely new segment of the modern economy.
In commerce, the ability to use a phone to transmit massive amounts of data in an instant has made it possible for the trading of commodities, stocks and other negotiable instruments by millions of additional people, rapidly expanding the trading markets for these particular items (Cortada) and making it possible for literally billions of additional dollars to be injected into the financial markets in a very quick period of time.
Public safety organizations and personnel utilize smart phone technology to coordinate efforts in times of emergency, to share the information that is needed across various agencies to achieve the goals of protecting the public, and to prevent crime as well as to apprehend dangerous criminal offenders in record time (Weir). The ability to use smart phones to market to individuals and also to conduct sales and business has also launched the age of the work from home entrepreneur who can run an entire operation from their pocket or purse (Wang).
Also, this technology is being used for education, especially in the language learning fields, where the versatile communication elements of smart phones are well suited to language learning itself (Chinnery). All of these many uses for smart phones surely will lead to changes in the way we use mass media, because as mass media becomes more portable, the need for the traditionally stationary means of mass media such as televisions, radios and even printed media like books and newspapers evolve into content that is accessed by the pocket-sized smart phone.
Since there are, and will continue to be more and more users of smart phones, it is fair to assume that media sources will focus on the latest means of spreading mass media, rather than wasting resources on outlets that face dwindling exposure. Limits on Today’s Smart Phone Technology For all of the great things that today’s smart phone technology makes possible, it must be noted that the technology has its limits.
While innovations are constantly being made to thwart the treat of computer viruses, the widespread use of smart phones has led to what can be called epidemic proportions of viruses which have the ability to wipe out huge amounts of vital data just as fast as it could send it. This represents huge security risks to businesses because of the loss or theft of key business information, losses in productivity, and huge monetary costs to clean up and/or repair viruses that are spreading at incredibly fast paces.
Of course, much of these problems are being intentionally inflicted by those who spread viruses merely for the malicious fun of doing so as well as those who illegally extract information from its rightful owners for purposes of identity theft and other fraud (Panettieri). The easy convenience of communication and the sharing of information are also posing an ethical problem in international academia. In generations past, the passing of notes from one student to another in the classroom was something that teachers forbade, but often did so with a chuckle because of the rather innocent nature of the offense.
However, the modern smart phone has led to students spreading offensive material, personal information stolen from other students and such, which has made it possible for lives to be destroyed and reputations tarnished like never before. Clever students have also harnessed smart phone technology and mass media sources to cheat on examinations, leading to a massive erosion of academic integrity in the modern classroom (Godwin-Jones). On a more abstract level, the use of smart phones for the purposes of mass media has in many instances eaten away at the human experience of actually communicating with people in a face to face setting.
As a result, society as a whole has become more fragmented, isolated and desensitized to the feelings, needs and problems of others. When life and death are reduced to electronic impulses on a tiny handheld screen, it is all too easy for the individual to simply switch off the device and pretend that what they had seen was not real. Meanwhile, the pain and suffering is in fact quite real, and if no one is attuned to this fact, the human race as a whole becomes somewhat artificial because they are not expected to be able to directly interact with people, but only communicate with them via text messages or voicemail for the most part.
As a result, the art of communication which has advanced humanity up to this point is put aside and people revert back to a more primitive way of life when communication was unpopular and people were not as well informed as they should be. This will cause humanity to suffer, and should not be allowed to occur. Therefore, let it be noted that smart phones should be used as an aid to, and not a substitute for, human contact. Mass Media Opportunities for Smart Phones Smart phones, for all of their possible pitfalls, do in fact offer some wonderful mass media opportunities that are worth discussing.
Consider, for example, a potential new product that needs to be test marketed. Rather than spending millions of dollars for conventional advertising, the gathering of test market groups in physical locations and the associated costs of travel, transportation and more, mass media via smart phone technology can instantly broadcast advertising messages, transmit marketing data, and keep in touch with potential customers all without the need for huge amounts of expensive equipment and the like.
Also, intellectual products like music, literature and such can be instantly distributed, making it easy and fun to be entertained and culturally stimulated at the same time. Overall, what should be understood is that the mass media opportunities for smart phones are endless, and only time will tell how they ultimately manifest themselves. Conclusion Through this research, it has become clear that not only has mass media progressed to the point where it is available literally in one’s pocket or purse, but also to the point where exposure to mass media takes place for the average person on a constant basis.
Perhaps most fascinating of all is the definite possibility that all of the innovations seen thus far are only the beginning of the journey, opening up limitless potential in the future. Therefore, in closing, while this research has concluded, for mass media, the journey is only beginning.
Works Cited Chinnery, George M. “Going to the MALL: Mobile Assisted Language Learning. ” Language, Learning & Technology 10. 1 (2006): 9+. Cortada, James W. The Digital Hand : How Computers Changed the Work of American Manufacturing, Transportation, and Retail Industries /. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Godwin-Jones, Robert.
“Emerging Technologies E-Texts, Mobile Browsing and Rich Internet Applications. ” Language, Learning & Technology 11. 3 (2007): 8+. Panettieri, Joseph C. “Don’t Be Out’smart’ed: The New Breed of Smart Mobile Phones Will Soon Pose the Biggest Danger to Your Data Security. Software Companies Are Gearing Up to Nullify the Threat. ” T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education) 33. 7 (2006): 18+. Wang, Yuping. “Supporting Synchronous Distance Language Learning with Desktop Videoconferencing. ” Language, Learning & Technology 8. 3 (2004): 90+. Weir, Tom. “Innovators or News Hounds?. ” Newspaper Research Journal 20. 4 (1999): 62.
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