Functions of Mass Communication for Society
Surveillance Surveillance refers to what we popularly can the news and information role of the media. The surveillance function can be divided further into two main types.,
Warning, Or Beware, surveillance occurs when the media inform us about threats from terrorism, depressed economic conditions, increasing inflation, or military attack. There is, however, much information that is not particularly threatening to society that people might like to know about.
Instrumental surveillance has to do with the transmission of information that is useful and helpful in everyday life. News about films playing at the local theaters, stock market prices, new products, fashion ideas, recipes, and teen fads are exam-pies of instrumental surveillance.
The mass media do not supply just facts and data. They also provide information on the ultimate meaning and significance of events. Articles that analyze the causes of an event or that discuss the implications of government policy are also examples of the interpretation function. Why is the price of gasoline going up.
Interpretation can take various forms. Editorial cartoons, which originated in 1754, may be the most popular form. Other examples are less obvious but no less important. Critics are employed by the various media to rate motion pictures, plays, books, and records. Restaurants, cars, architecture, and even religious services are reviewed by some newspapers and magazines.
The mass media are able to join different elements of society that are not directly connected. For example, mass advertising attempts to link the needs of buyers with the products of sellers. Legislators may try to keep in touch with constituents' feelings by reading their hometown papers. Voters, in turn, learn about the doings of their elected officials through newspapers, TV, radio, and websites. Attempt to raise money for the treatment of certain diseases are another example of this linkage function. The needs of those suffering from the disease are matched with the desires of others who wish to see the problem eliminated.
Another type of linkage occurs when geographically separated groups that share a common interest are linked by the media.
Transmission of Values/Socialization
The transmission of values is a important function of the mass media. It has also been called the socializafion function. Socialization refers to the ways an individual comes to adopt the behavior and values of a group. The mass media portray our society, and by watching, listening, and reading, we learn how people are supposed to act and what values are important. Consider the images of an important but familiar concept as seen in the media: motherhood.
Cell phones link parents with children. Sports talk radio joins people with a common interest in athletics.
The media can create totally new social groups by linking members of society who have not previously recognized similar interests in one another.
On the other hand, this linkage function may have harmful consequences. Terrorists can use hate sites to spread hate propaganda and to recruit new members. Some websites provide password-protected online discussion groups in which veteran terrorists can persuade new members to join their cause
TV and Socialization: Of all the mass media, television probably has the greatest potential for socialization.