What is Media and Why is It So Important to Humankind?

At one time, the word “media”conjured images of newspapers and radio. In the current technological age,however,the question, “What is media?” might result in surprising, and varying, answers. Media encompasses both traditional forms of communication, as well as numerous new social media platforms.

What is Media?

Media is the plural form of the word “medium.” It is the means by which news and information is communicated to the masses. Mass media, then, refers to all of the different forms of communication to the public, such as radio, newspapers, magazines and Internet websites – any of the means used to reach wide audiences. Media refers to the many different, and ever-changing, forms of communication employed to reach a desired audience.

What is Media? – Different Types Have Different Benefits

There are various forms of mass media, and each different type has its own benefits and limitations. Print media, such as newspapers and magazines, has the ability to reach many people within a geographic area; the printed information, however, has a shelf life that expires quickly. Broadcasting media, like television and radio, can reach far beyond a target audience, but its messages are limited to the length of exposure – once the audience turns the channel, the message may be lost. There is also the emergence of new, cutting-edge media that are threatening these traditional forms and making us re-evaluate the question, “What is media?”

What is Media? – New Forms are Emerging

With the advent of the Internet age, the question, “What is media?” has a constantly mutating answer. Often called “new media” or “social media,” on-demand forms of communication are feared to be taking over the more conventional means of reaching audiences. From the Internet alone, there are mass communication tools such as Facebook and Twitter that allow individuals to have instant access to whatever information they can search for – all in a matter of minutes. Even conventional news is being shaken by the advent of news websites where people can get updates instantaneously, while also interacting with reporters and other readers through message boards.

What is Media? – Its Importance to Humankind

Media’s ability to reach the masses makes it a very important and powerful tool. Finding and using the appropriate form of media can help you get a message to an intended audience, often efficiently. The media can educate an audience and direct it to areas where more in-depth information can be found. It can provide publicity and exposure for businesses and for social causes. Possibly the most important feature of media is that it can change opinions and move people to action, and it is this ability to influence the masses that can potentially make the media a very useful, and dangerous, tool.

As more and more people consider themselves experts and blog about their own experiences, the source of media information is becoming increasingly important to consider. Even with this danger, and the growing numbers of types of communication, there can be no doubt of the importance of media as a tool. Many schools are tapping into this movement, creating new and exciting degrees to explore media literacy, with promises of bright futures in social media positions.