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Posted on March 13th, 2013, by

The emergence and rapid development of technology in the second half of the 20th century marked a new stage in the development of media, rapid and deep changes in communication. During the last three decades throughout the world is observed the intensive development of information technologies and communication tools, that rapidly modified the existing systems of mass communication, the mass media itself, as well as many aspects of cultural life of modern society. While nowadays mass media, especially electronic mass media, have great influence on various aspects of social life. In this context it is necessary to consider and analyze the influence of technology on communications and modern media theories. The relevance of the work is due to the development of new media and Internet, that requires consideration of the main directions of further development of mass communication.

One important characteristic feature of the XXI century is the unprecedented development of communication media. With the rise of the electronic sources of information in the XX century, the nature of communications – and the life in general – has changed radically. The end of XX century marked the globalization of media and communication, transforming the entire structure of the communicative experience of people: mass communication is not only a “magic window”¯ to see the world, but the “door”¯ through which ideas penetrate into our consciousness. This applies to all means of mass communication and, above all, to the World Wide Web.

The global nature of the changes, associated with the development of Internet technologies and network innovations in the world, set new directions of development of media theories and poses new challenges. According to traditional concepts, the communication is a process of information transfer between the addresser and receiver of the information. In other words, in the basis of the concept of communication lies the known scheme of “sender – the transmission of information – the addressee.”¯ However, each element of the scheme varies in terms of mass communications in cyberspace. Internet “plays”¯ with the traditional scheme of “source – message ”“ receiver”¯:

sometimes keeps it in its original form, sometimes gives it an entirely new character. Communication via the Internet may acquire very different forms, ranging from global web sites run by major news organizations, to listing servers and personal correspondence between friends and colleagues. The source of the message can be both one man (when it comes to, for example, emails), and an entire social group. The message itself may be a traditional article, written by a journalist or editor, history, created by group of people, and even a simple conversation in a chat. Recipient (or audience) of the messages may also vary from one to several million, may vary depending on the role played by the recipient himself (for example, being the creator of the message). (Walther, 1992)
Internet forces us to rethink the classical definitions and categories of communication studies. So when we say that the Internet is a means of mass communication, it becomes clear that Internet is a multi-media, which creates a variety of different forms of communication. (Morris, 1996)

In today’s globalized world and the era of media culture, there is a need to study the Internet as a new mean of mass communication. As a starting point, we can use those methods of research, which has already been applied to traditional media, for example, approach that includes research of benefits and rewards that people get from the Internet by American, American scientists Walter D. and Rafael S. The theory of use and rewards based on functional analysis, which “derives from the sociological and psychological foundations of needs, which lead to different patterns of internal and external effects of media, which leads to other effects, in most cases to those that were not anticipated in advance”¯ [Blumler, 1974].

Rosengren K. improved this approach, noting that under the “needs”¯ must be understood problems and possible solutions to these problems, perceived by the audience. He paid particular interest to the analysis of newsletters as a component of the Internet. This concept should be necessarily included in the study of Internet communications, along with some other concepts that can be applied to studying the Internet as a medium of mass communication (the theory of critical mass, the theory of social presence, the network approach, etc.) Reconceptualizing the Internet from this perspective will allow researchers to use traditional methods of studying the media, as well as develop new ways of studying them.

In general, it appears that the study and analysis of the mass cyber communication and new digital communication technologies may be a promising direction for further theoretical research in communications studies in the near future.
Blumler, J., & Katz, E. The uses of mass communications. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. 1974
Morris M., Ogan C. (1996). “The Internet as Mass Medium”¯. Journal of Communication, 46 (1)
Rafaeli S. (1986). “The electronic bulletin board: A computer-driven mass medium”¯. Computers and the Social Sciences, 2.
Rosengren, K. (1974). “Uses and gratifications: A paradigm outlined”¯. Journal of Communication
Walther, J. B. (1992). “Interpersonal effects in computer-mediated interaction: A relational perspective”¯. Communication Research, 19

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