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Media can be defined as the various means of communication i.e. communication channels through which education, data, and entertainment among other things are disseminated. It may also be used as a collective term of defining the press or news reporting agencies. Mass media can be in the form of print such as newspapers, magazines, billboards and periodicals; audio like the radios; audio visuals like televisions and electronic such as through internet in the computers, iPods, phones etc. Traditional media includes newspapers, magazines, radios and television. New media on the other hand are the emerging technologies that are currently being used to convey information to the masses. They are also called industrial media and include the use of mobile phones and internet.
According to Beatty, there are more people who own at least a mobile phone handset than there are those who own radio and T.V sets combined (1-2). This means that information that is passed through mobile phones reaches a greater multitude than that which is passed through traditional media. The worry however is that most of the information in industrial media is not censured and may not be true. The quality of information relayed in the new media is “not as counter checked as is the case in most traditional media channels” (Beatty 1-2). Much as the new media has the advantage of reaching a greater multitude within a short time, where quality and censorship is concerned the traditional media is still more preferable.
The accessibility and usability of media also differs greatly. Traditional media are mostly “government and/or privately” owned whereas social media are available at considerably low costs and are less hierarchical where licenses and operation permits are required (Dittmer 98). Whereas traditional media use requires skills and training, social media uses the already existing skills with a few reinterpretations to capture the new technology of using the new media. Dittmer asserts that whereas in social media wrongs may be corrected immediately, the same cannot be done in print traditional media (99-100). This is not to say that the traditional media is in a sorry state yet, since the young generation though closely affiliated to social networks like face book and twitter, they also “love some radio F.M stations for the music and the programs that are aired” (Beatty 1-2). Most F.M stations play the current day music genres to appeal to more youths and also incorporate interactive sessions in which the public can air their views. The youth therefore find it more fun listening to their favorite music from the F.M music stations or phones rather than watching a boring program on television or listening to boring political news on news channels. There are however, news channels that appeal to mostly youths than the adult population. For example the entertainment channels that air the latest music and movies.
There are effects specific to a particular type of media, but there are also generalized effects for both the social and traditional media. The general effects according to Dittmer, include, the imitation and copying behavior in which children and adults mimic and incorporate the behavior they have heard and/or seen a character in the media do (98-100). This has impacted on dress codes and hairstyles especially among the youth who would want to identify with the celebrities they appreciate.
In addition, the media have been responsible for cross border export of cultures, thereby resulting in “malformed super egos” (Dittmer 99). Viewers are exposed to diverse value systems. Since the media does not give feedback on discipline and behavior, individuals may develop their own superego value system. According to Beatty, addiction of such kind is among wide spread among the younger generation and has impacted people extensively through the modern media as opposed to traditional forms of media (1-2).