One of the characteristics of the American culture is that they love to read and to be informed especially the youth. There are many ways to be informed such as reading books or news, following the social media platforms or watching TV. It is argued that the Millennials usually check their smartphones early in the morning to know about the latest happening in the surrounding. Nevertheless, the mass media industry has developed drastically in the last century, particularly in the late 1990’s, this development has largely influenced American culture. In this blog, I will discuss the mass media, social structure and the theories regarding how the mass media affects social structure with reference to the American Society.
Since the human started to develop him or herself much have been changed in the fields of mass media and the social structures. With the help of economic reforms and the developmental policies, we have been focusing on commercialization to catch the audience in the interplay between the fast changing mass media and evolving social structures (David Siegel, 2013). The new atmosphere created by this mass media has been affecting the audience in a different way. It is transforming the people to accept what is socially happening in the society and they act according to the situations. As mass media has an influence on all aspects of the society, it can be utilized to influence and improve the social situations (Masahiro Yamamoto, 2011). Modernization of the social structure and mass media has converted it into an indispensable feature of the society. Apart from that, we are also dealing with various scientific issues because of the media. It has influenced an ability to engage with the socio-scientific issues to solve the real world problems. So let us dig deeper into the technology of the social structures and mass media to know more about how they are influencing our society and lives (David Siegel, 2013).
It is a well-known fact that United State has the biggest and most prominent media house of the world (McPhail, 2014). Nevertheless, with the evolution of the technology from one region of the world to another region, it is clear that we cannot administer one mean of mass communication into another area in an effective way. In this case, we notice that the upper class of the society prefers to read the newspaper because it is associated with them and their lifestyle (McPhail, 2014). This influence of the mass media has been growing in each class in a different way. In the present age, mass media is mostly utilized to persuade the people to utilize some products. According to Alex Rutherford (2013) four theories have been formulated in the manners that are listed as:
- Individual Difference:
It helps to build the character of the person through the learning process that is led by motivation and mindset. It will show that how people change their attitude, beliefs, and values according to the coming information (Alex Rutherford, 2013).
- Social categorization:
This theory affects the response to receiving the message based on income level, sex, religion, residence or education conveyed through mass media (Alex Rutherford, 2013).
- Social relations:
According to the theory, people receive the news or messages conveyed by mass media from other people instead of receiving them directly this means that mass media is making the relations among people strong (Alex Rutherford, 2013).
- Cultural Norms:
Public intercept the message conveyed by the mass media in a different way according to their culture (Alex Rutherford, 2013). As the modern generation, gather all the required information from the online sources, on the other hand, people with low literacy level use the radio. In the United States, the participants of the fourth estate have a mass media model that they call free and independent (McPhail, 2014).
To fulfill the mandate and requirements of the owners and for several political and economic reasons, some media outlets will be controlled by a special group of people or organization. It has also been pointed out that mass media is transparent in pressing the international and national matters like the US military in Iraq and several other countries (Schnell, 2016).
Every culture has its unique and complex social structure. To provide a deeper understanding of how social structure relates to the public they studied from the point of view of the factors that influence the level of social interaction. According to (Bridgewater & Buzzanell, 2010), the statistics help to paint a clear picture of the social structures. It has been reported that 12.1% of the migrants account for the population of the US and it includes both legal and illegal immigrants. This issue has been debated in the congress related to the unemployment of the people, immigration policy and American dream (Gopnik, 2016).
With the understanding of the family structures and religious institutions, public relation activities can be studied and executed. In addition, the cultural profile is also classified (Zaharna, 2001). In this manner, doing cultures are said to be activity oriented cultures. Individuals with this kind of cultural disposition values tasks and activities with attainments that can be measured (Pothier, 2013).
The main concern in this case attainments and the visible products of doings. The cultural attainments are not a valuable product and what matters is an individual is opposed to what an individual does. In this aspect, the important thing is the family background of the person, rank, and age (Zaharna, 2001).
Major theories, which explain the impact of mass media on social structure
Limited effects theory
This theory was developed in the 1940s-1950s, and postulates that the media has limited influence on the decision making the ability of the people (Straubhaar et al., 2013). According to this theory, the well-informed people do not solemnly rely on the information presented in the media; rather they consider other sources in addition to the media, for instance, prior knowledge, personal experience, and logical reasoning. However, this scenario does not hold true for the less-informed people, who are more likely to get influenced by the information presented in the media. This theory was tested during the political campaigns of the presidential candidates (Ryan, 2014). The major criticism faced by this theory is that this was developed in time when media was not so influential
Class dominated theory
According to this theory, media reflects and postulates the vested interest of the minority elites. The people who control the media groups forms the elite group. For instance, Anne Cox Chambers, Rupert Murdock, and Hearst Family owns the majority of the media houses in America. The Advocates of this theory claims that these media houses are bound to obey what the elite’s orders and also these big media houses try to create a monopoly by continuously buying other media houses (Schnell, 2001). However, the critics of this theory claim that the journalists continue to present the fair and true picture.
In the present day, the online media have largely influenced the American society, and the youth is more likely to control the information over the internet, as they are the one who are actively sharing, liking and commenting on the posts.