The recent times have seen a great revolution of communication studies brought more by an increased incorporation of technology into our systems and increased innovations which have also affected the communication field.
Unlike half a century ago the broadcasting extent has increased to cover the entire globe and everyone is now covered with one form of communication be it TV radio or print materials. This has prompted increased in formation exchange which has blend cultures, economies and political systems.
This paper is about these three how they have been impacted by communication, whether communications has altered the behavior of elements involved in these systems.
Thesis: Mass communication modifies behaviour
To start with mass communication is a general academic term that means the study of various methods that are used to carry information to various people that may live within a region or in a distant region, t his study involves a look at the various forms of relying information such as newspapers, radio, T V and any other audio or visual media.
The study of these tools of communication has developed with time as individuals have continued to make new inventions that have eased communication processes throughout the world. In ancient times the communication a venues were limited to specific areas as technology was limited and the equipments used would merely broadcast information to cover an entire country live alone coverage of a continent or entire globe such as is now possible.(Alexander 2008).
Later years saw launch of satellites which helped broadcasting of live events and global communications through some designated broadcast cooperation’s such as CNN among others. Numerous other stations have come up and are able to broadcast their programs through out t he world.
On the other hand behavior is the action exhibited by an individual in reaction to an alteration of the environment setting or any change within the individual’s environment. When we talk of behavior modification we refer to a change in the actions of an individual, this research is aimed at determining whether this change maybe as a result of information relayed by the media. Behavior for the purpose of this study will be classified into three
– Economic behavior
– Social behavior
– Political behavior.
1. Economic behavior
Economics is a study of market activities, that is an examination of the various services that are existent in the market and what fact ors affect them, on goods it involves determination of what affect their supply and demand. Most of these market activities are predictable to some extent and economists have with time come up with ways to explain the trends in the market place. These trends are used by most analysts from most economic sectors to modify their policies, this to makes some of t he counter measures predictable by most other people, this makes the whole market explainable though the degree of reliance on this information may not be known with certainty.(Mayer 2007).
When these policies are passed it becomes necessary for the formulators to communicate them to the stake holders to gunner support for the same, the only way to do this is through the various mediums of communication which are collectively studied under the mass communication bracket. The whole process is aimed at ensuring that the behavior of the individuals who are subject to these policies is altered in a certain way favorable to the policies.(Vivian 1996).
An example of such a case is when policy makers were pushing for better policies in the sight of the cash crunch, they took their campaigns to major media houses, had their suggestions and opinions printed in major daily papers as well as various economic journals. This helped individuals in realizing the eminent effects of the global crunch as most people remained ignorant of the recession. Once these people read the articles they became aware of the pending effects of the credit crunch through this they modified their spending habits with some house holds cutting t heir expenditure on luxurious items by a massive 90% thus the whole effect would not have been felt if these policy makers had not used the media houses to publish their theories which in turn modified the s pending behavior of the American citizens.
The other thing that changed due to the communication is that the public found the experts suggestion helpful and thus joined in advocating for adoption of most of these policies that would shield these companies from the global crunch, whether they succeeded is no t part of t his research but a look at the results show that mass communication modifies behavior.
The other element that may prove modification of economic behavior through communication is the realization of objectives set in the cash for clunkers program which ran from May to around August this year.
The first aim was that the program intended to act as a stimulus package for the motor industry in the face of the escalating credit crunch. The second aim was that the government wanted to replace all the cars through the goodwill of the owners that had 18 miles per gallon with those of 22 miles per gallon. This would have favorable consequence on the environment just as was the intention with the first program
The records released showed the following increases in the three dominant auto makers in the
Automaker Percentage increase
The entire program involved a sale of about 700,000 vehicles which was a significant effort to realize considerable effects on the environment and the economy. (Sullivan 2009).
For a program like this the formulators and the implementers invested adequate resources on informing the public and all other stakeholders on all the aspects of the program. Besides this, other necessary details include the expectations of each of the players and a complete summary of the guidelines and regulations of the program.
For this program the government through the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) availed information on the type of cars that qualified for the rebates, adequate information was also availed and delivery was timely to allow individuals time to act within the stipulated four months program period.
Due to the sufficiency of the in formation individuals took their old cars back to dealers in exchange with new efficient vehicles this though came at a cost to the owners which provides another incidence of modified behavior due to communication.
Through these two illustrations it is evident that mass communication modifies economic decisions/behavior.
Politics is a way through which people make decisions either on solitary bases or in a block to mean several people. The main drive in politics is the ideologies represented by a particular political group or person, the other thing is that it is no good to the people who have these ideologies just coming up with them and not communicating them to the people they want political support from.
The political system in a country is held by individuals who are either in power or one s aspiring to be in power these two groups of people are always inn constant opposition as either tries to outdo t he other and power chances being scarce then these individuals have to constantly come up with ways to beat their rivals, this necessitates formulation of ideologies that are appealing to the people, addressing the major issues affecting these people. (Vivian 1996).
A good example is the past general election where different political parties rode on different ideologies and each addressed issues affecting the American public, these issues included healthcare, environmental concerns, energy crisis etc but the degree of communication and the vigor of the campaign determined the people’s political inclination.
The other point to cement the proposition of mass communication modifying political behavior is the trend of political support that the presidential campaigners got after the public debates. These were broadcasted through out the country and individuals who listened to them altered their political support dependent on the strength of each of the candidates this change of political stands favored the Democratic party’s candidate who went ahead to capture the presidential race.(Keefe 2006).
The other effect of the media in modifying political behavior can be proper illustrated with African cases where political revolutions and demonstrations have been frequent in the past decade. Sociologists and past researchers by use of Africa as a study case indicated a strong link between media campaigns and level of political activity exhibited by the individuals.
When media houses broadcast information on certain leaders this is received with either hostility or is welcomed dependent on the political affiliation, most revolutions or revolts have been as a result of these communications. Thus as information is released the political activity increases denoting a positive correlation between the level and sensitivity of information with the degree of political activity. (Conners et al 2007).
This relation can also be the other way round when individuals demand certain service through demonstrations government reacts to the issues, the link between the people and thee government in this case is communication tools, thus increased pressure from people necessitates the government to alter its activities to meet the requirement of the people. Thus another strong link of mass communication modifying behavior in this case political behavior.
This has been one of the most talked about relation as media has been linked with the most social changes around the world as this may not be of much debate as the results have been there for all to see thus for this paper I wish to just de rive two examples where communication has altered the social behavior of human beings.
In earlier days when individual’s interactions were limited to physical extents the level of behavior for these people was only determined by those they lived with and was founded on the social values for the particular community or region. This however has changed with time as communication has brought down the physical boundaries and individuals now freely communicate and ex change values from other parts of the world. This has seen most social values altered to fit some others which may be looked at as favorable or preferable by certain individuals. This has also led to modified cultural behaviors to strike a common ground between various cultures around t he world such as American culture being altered to accommodate some of Chinese culture which maybe seen to have some favorable aspects as far as business is concerned. All this is as a result of communication which has provided the link between cultures and has come in as an analysis board for various cultures leading to modification of culture and alteration of values. (Alexander 2008).
Communication has provided a channel for people to air their views to show case their culture and various talents which they posses, for scholars to discuss their subjects this has led to alteration and modification of values and behavior of people around the world.
Alexander, A (2008).Mass media and Society: Taking sides- clashing views in mass media and society 10th edition.McGraw-Hill/Dushkin
Conners, J, Cohen Bell, L and Sheckles, T (2007).Perspectives on Political communication.
Allyn & Bacon.
Keefe, W (2006).Parties, Politics, and public policy in America 10th edition. CQ press.
Mayer, J (2007).American media Politics in Transition. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.
Sullivan J (2009). The wall Street Journal: Cash-for-Clunkers- Program, August
Issue Page 32-38.
Vivian, J (1996).The media of mass communication 4th edition .Allyn & Bacon
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