Communication involves meaningful sharing and exchange of message between two parties, i.e. sender and receiver, wherein the sender initiates the process of conveying message so as to create an understanding in the mind of the receiver.
The term communication is often contrasted with mass communication. Mass communication is described as that form of communication which spreads the message to the mass audience at the same time, using sophisticated technology.
Messages are sent with a certain purpose, which can be spreading news, sharing an experience or informing the audience, etc. They can be circulated by speaking, telephone, television, radio, YouTube, newspaper, email, blogs, gestures, body language and also by way of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
In this session, we will discuss the differences between communication and mass communication.
Content: Communication Vs Mass Communication
|Basis for Comparison||Communication||Mass Communication|
|Meaning||Communication is when two or more individuals come together to exchange the message in a given social context.||Mass communication is a type of communication with the large group of audience, using mass media.|
|Process||Two-way process||One-way process|
|Function||It tends to inform, educate, advise, warn, order, suggest, motivate and persuade.||It tends to inform, educate, entertain and persuade.|
|Elements||Sender, Receiver, Message, Channel and Feedback||Source, Message, Channel, Audience and Effect|
|Expansion||From the evolution of mankind.||With technological advancement.|
Definition of Communication
Communication is when the sender and receiver come together to share, dialogue, commune with one another, by using signals, words, pictures, symbols, so as to create an understanding. It is a dynamic process in which a message, news or information is transmitted by the sender to the receiver, clearly and unambiguously.
Communication involves the transmission and exact replication of the message, confirmed by feedback, so as to trigger an intended action. So, what we have understood with the above definition is explained in the points below:
- Process of communication tends to communicate the idea or message.
- The message needs to be clearly and accurately interpreted by the recipient. This means that there should be no exaggeration or distortion of the message.
- As communication is a two-way process, feedback often ensures the sender, that the message has been appropriately delivered and correctly interpreted.
- Communication aims to elicit a response.
Process of Communication
It includes verbal, non-verbal, visual and electronic interaction between people. This means that to communicate something, one can use traditional or offbeat signals, linguistic or non-linguistic (whistles, laugh, yell, etc.) forms.
Definition of Mass Communication
Mass communication refers to the form of public communication involving electronic or mechanical transmission of information or message simultaneously to many people.
It is the means of spreading a message, news or information to a large, unknown, distributed and diversified masses of the recipient, who are far away from the source of the message. For this purpose, it makes use of mass media, i.e. newspaper, radio, television, social network, internet, magazines, etc, to reach a maximum number of people quickly and concurrently.
Salient features of Mass Communication
- Mass media: To be called a mass medium, the channel or means of communication must possess a good audience base (typically in millions).
- Presence of Gatekeepers: The content is regarded as king in mass communication, as it is something that persuades or affects the behaviour, attitude, opinion, outlook and emotion of the recipient. So, the message does not reach the audience in their actual form, rather they are treated. Hence, there is no assurance that the message received is the same as the message sent. Here the word ‘gatekeepers’ is used to denote reporters, editors, sub-editors, producers, writers, etc.
- Delayed feedback: In mass communication, the feedback usually takes time which can be a day, week, month etc.
- Limited sensory channels: Limitation of sensory channels means that in mass communication one can use his/her visual or hearing sense, and limits the use of other senses.
- Impersonal communication: Mass communication is impersonal in nature in the sense that the participants are anonymous, i.e. strangers and do not know each other, so it is impersonal.
Mass communication belongs to the infotainment industry, which informs as well as entertains the general public. It also creates awareness among people, regarding the various government schemes, policies and programmes.
Key Differences Between Communication and Mass Communication
The points hereunder will give you a detailed overview of the difference between communication and mass communication:
- Communication implies the process of interchanging information, ideas, facts or message from one person to another, and back. On the other hand, mass communication refers to a process, which helps in wide circulation of the message, among the target audience, who are away from the source.
- Communication is a two-way process, as it involves the transmission of a message from sender to receiver and feedback from the receiver to the sender. In this way, the sender comes to know that the message is understood by the receiver properly. As against, mass communication is a one-way process, as the audience may not be able to interact with the sender of the message directly.
- Communication is personal, in the sense that the sender and receiver know or aware about each other, which is not in the case with mass communication, as the audience is anonymous to the sender of the message, which makes it impersonal.
- In the case of communication between two or more person, the reach is low and slow as well. As opposed, in mass communication, as the message is sponsored, its reach is high as well as fast, which means that it reaches millions of persons in one go.
- Communication is done with an intent to inform, educate, advice, warn, order, suggest, motivate and persuade, the receiver of the message. Conversely, the function of mass communication is to inform, educate, entertain and persuade.
- The main elements in the process of communication are Sender, Receiver, Message, Channel and Feedback. As opposed, the main elements in mass communication are Source, Message, Channel, Audience and Effect.
- Communication has emerged with the evolution of mankind, but mass communication has emerged with technology advancement.
- When it comes to feedback, in case of communication there is a direct interaction between the sender and receiver, and so the feedback is immediate. Contrastingly, in the case of mass communication, the feedback is delayed, due to the absence of any real person to communicate with.
In a nutshell, when the message is imparted quickly to a large population at a time, such a process is called as mass communication. In contrast, communication is the process which involves the exchange of message using words, symbols, signs or behaviour, between two or more persons.