Meaning of Media
What are Media:
As means of communication, all those instruments, channels or forms of transmission of information that human beings use to carry out the communication process are called.
The media are so broad that they range from writing to today's information and communication technologies.
According to the concept of a given means of communication, the roles of sender and receiver may or may not be interchanged. That is why the media respond to at least two great communication paradigms:
1) One-way communication, in which only one of the subjects acts as a sender in front of a receiver.
2) Bidirectional or multidirectional communication, in which the receiver or receivers become senders and vice versa.
Role of the media
The main function of the media is to transmit a message, which is directed from a sender to a receiver.
In addition, they fulfill more specific functions such as informing, persuading, exposing ideas, motivating participation and entertaining. Everything will depend on the purpose for which they are employed.
Types of media
The media are usually classified in different ways, but the most widespread way of doing it responds to the type of information they transmit: information of public interest or of private interest.
In this sense, a basic differentiation can be made between interpersonal media and social media. Let's see.
Media of personal interest
The means of interpersonal communication or of personal interest are used to establish communications between people. They are those that allow two or more people to communicate within the private sphere. Therefore, they necessarily respond to the bidirectional communication paradigm. For instance:
- Post mail;
- Telegraph (morse code);
- Telephone (pulse phones, touch-tone phones, cell phones and smartphones);
- Instant messaging networks, among others.
Media of public interest
The media of public interest, also known as mass or social communication media (mass media in English), are intended to convey public information to the masses. They are normally governed by the one-way communication paradigm, although there are exceptions.
The media of social communication has enormous power to influence, guide and shape public opinion. Hence, it is also known as the fourth estate. For this reason, one of the main objectives of undemocratic governments is to censor independent media and use them for their own benefit.
Types of social media
Depending on the platform and the format they use to communicate, there are different types of social media.
Printed media are all those printed publications, such as newspapers, magazines, brochures, etc., which are used as a material medium for the transmission of information. It is the oldest means of communication.
Its golden age spans from the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century. Currently, it is still a prestigious medium, but the interest of the general public in it has gradually declined to migrate to other media such as radio, television and digital platforms.
Radio communication media are those that are based on the use of radio waves to send sound signals. In this sense, the reach of the radio is greater than that of the written press.
To listen to your transmissions, it is enough to have a radio wave receiving device.Some of the advantages of radio are its immediacy, efficiency, and low production costs. It is a nineteenth century invention that is still in force and uses both analog and digital media.
It appears at the end of the 19th century and is considered an audiovisual medium. Although today this medium is fundamentally oriented towards aesthetic creation and entertainment, in the past, especially in the first decades of the 20th century, it played an important role as a mass communication medium. Movie theaters became spaces for information and immediate propaganda before the appearance of TV.
Once TV appeared in homes, the cinema was able to focus on its specific vocation: the creation of audiovisual discourses for aesthetic and cultural purposes.
Television is the most popular social media in the world. It is part of the audiovisual media as well as the radioelectric ones, since it uses audio and image technology for the transmission of information. Its scope is enormous in terms of coverage and the population with access to it. In addition, its content offer is diverse and is aimed at all types of audiences: education, health, opinion, entertainment, fiction, information, documentaries, etc. Its invention dates back to the 20th century.
Complementary or auxiliary means
It refers to all the media that serve to transmit messages to the community that fulfill complementary or auxiliary functions of the traditional media. For example: outdoor billboards, posters, shopping catalogs, free calendars distributed by companies, sample books, circulars, flyers, etc.
Digital media or hypermedia
Digital communication media are those that use the Internet for the dissemination of content and information. They appeared at the end of the 20th century, thanks to the development of computers and new information and communication technologies, and since then, they have caused a revolution in the way people consume, produce and interact with information.
The Internet represents a shift in the paradigm of unidirectional communication towards a multidirectional model, because it allows and requires the active participation of the user. The user not only determines their searches, but is also a content generator.
At the same time, the Internet contains all the possibilities of communication media in a single system: audio, image, text, databases, work tools, interpersonal communication channels, etc. With the Internet we have access to television, cinema, press, radio, telephone and social networks. For this reason, many specialists do not consider it a means of communication, but rather a hypermedia.
As an example we can mention:
- Search engines like Google or Yahoo;
- SoundCloud, among others.
However, these media are still expanding and their process of democratization and access to the masses is still in progress.
See also ICT (Information and Communication Technologies).
Social networks are part of digital media. However, they deserve a separate mention due to their complexity, since they are present in all media, both interpersonal and social: smartphones, computers, modes of interaction on radio and TV, etc.
Social media covers everything. They are channels that allow the transmission of instant and personalized messaging, at the same time as the production and transmission of images, video, audio and texts in a broad or massive social context. They have totally revolutionized the way of conceiving communication by crossing all the functions of their predecessors and adding a fundamental element: the production of content by the user.
Thus, social networks or RRSS have become spaces for the promotion of projects, values, ideas, concepts, symbols, beliefs, merchandise and services of the most varied types, through the connection of real people through a system networks based on common interests (shared history, location, activities, educational level, beliefs, etc.).
Among them we can mention:
- Google Plus;
- Facebook Messenger;
Alternative social media
Alternative media, or simply alternative media, are all independent communication and social information channels, that is, they do not belong to or are not controlled by large corporate groups or the state.
This type of media is usually identified with its own agenda or cause (social complaint, environment, spirituality, citizen participation, cultural life of the sector, etc.). They seek to create spaces for the representation of needs, problems, approaches and perspectives that are normally invisible or openly censored by business groups or the State based on market or political interests.
Within this category you can find community radio and television stations, podcasts, brochures, and all kinds of electronic resources such as social networks, web pages, blogs, forums, etc.