The development of technology on the global scale has gone through a lot of evolutionary stages. Its history began in the 19th century with the world shifting to urbanism and has been ongoing up to the present day, displaying intensive technological advancements. The introduction of the social media, all-accessible television and radio stations facilitated the massive public use of technologies. Amazingly, recent researches have shown that exposure to the technological sources of information has led to people spending more time with technology than in sleep! However, with millions of people spending their time on technology either through watching, reading or hearing, more and more importance is given to the content exposed to the public by the abovementioned means. Indeed, the kind of information presented to people by the media determines their societal actions and views. This paper explores the influence of mass media evolution on social and cultural changes.
The mass society theory describes how the media has been a platform that causes socio-cultural changes, in particular the unconstructive ones. In other words, this theory emphasizes the power of the media to influence its audience (Baran, & Davis, 2015). The effect can be attested to by a number of trends in different spheres of life set by the media. For instance, styles of clothes have become globalized with the media spreading the latest fashion trends and imposing their value onto the viewers. As a result, some dressing codes that had been unacceptable in African and Arabian countries earlier, have since been introduced there, modifying the ways people express and perceive beauty and introducing the values of the Western world.
Another example of the media influencing the society is the way the concept of marriage has been changed by technology. The lawful gay marriages in America and Europe practiced nowadays as compared to the conventional traditions of marriage that have existed before the global technologies occurrence is one of the brightest examples. The films and literature that support and promote same-sex marriage play a key role in this shift of values. Moreover, other countries, where this kind of marriage is not legal, show an immense tolerance regarding this matter. This example illustrates how mass media evolution can facilitate societal and cultural changes.
The framing theory also suggests that mass media affects the society, defining the debate terms even without the audience realizing it (Weiguang, & Yusheng, 2015). For example, live talk shows on TV have dwelled on the topic of marriage and divorce, most of the times using an individual’s case study to do it. Consequently, while watching it, one is prone to believe in its ideas and their opinion shifts to what the reality show is suggesting as opposed to what is culturally indigenous. If in the 18th century marriage was a respected divine institution culturally, with the increase of reality shows campaigning for human rights divorce has become a common phenomenon. The significance of such qualities as patience and endurance in marriage has been trodden down a foot, with the chances of divorce being high due to the slightest misunderstandings.
Another sphere of social life that is largely predetermined by mass media is entertainment. Thus, the fact that mass media has been able to reach and influence the audience worldwide, according to the mass society theory, has made the music industry global. This led to, for example, such genres as hip hop and R’n’B becoming popular in countries where native or country music had taken the leading position previously. Furthermore, artists nowadays are appreciated globally regardless of their genre of music. As a result, pop stars, as well as Hollywood actors set trends for character attributes like speech, reasoning, mode of dressing and behaving. However, according to the framing theory, despite the dramatic shift of values and ideas in society, the audience is usually not aware of their views and perspectives being affected to this extent by such programs (Wolfgang, 2008).
The mass society theory exposes the power of the media in controlling its audience. It states that media has a massive destructive influence that causes social intolerance to the members of community, which can lead to springing of social chaos (Granholm, Moberg, & Sjo, 2015). The reason for this is because the media can reach the masses within a short span of time; most people listen to the various available radio stations, watch TV or receive news through social media. The exposure of the society to these media, therefore, makes it possible for them to influence the audience. The tenants of this theory, however, are concerned that the information given out through the media to the masses can destroy certain societal values and even brake the distinct strata of different societies with certain beliefs. For them, the evolution of mass media brings the unlimited amount of information, which is rather hazardous as not all kinds of information are beneficial.
One of the areas most affected by information is education. In the 18th century, most countries did not have formal education systems, and the western system of education was primarily introduced during colonialism. Nowadays, due to the technological advancement, the western education system has become available worldwide, even in physically inaccessible islands. As a result, higher education can be gained by anyone nowadays.
Another example of society being affected by mass media is dressing code and hairstyle trends. Obviously, fashion houses sell their products worldwide, which led to the authentic dressing styles being abolished for the latest trends in the market. The framing theory, on the other hand, suggests that mass media frames people to certain views by presenting concepts of various aspects of life without the audience even noticing it. The audience then picks up this picture for themselves. This theory insists that, by the mass media stressing on certain things such as what exists and how to explain their existence, what happens in daily life situations and what matters at the end of the day, it tactfully imposes these ideas on the audience.
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