It’s time for us to announce the award for the greatest mass media invention of all time. What should it be and why?
“What,” you ask, “is the greatest mass media invention of all time?” I almost gave myself a migraine and nearly blacked-out due to the amount of time I put into thinking about this. My eyes were blood-shot, my head hurt, and I may have unwittingly become addicted to 5-Hour Energy. Finally though, after about 30 seconds of deep contemplation, I had my answer: Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press. Hopefully you caught my sarcasm in all of that. For me, this is a no-brainer. In terms of mass media, Gutenberg’s printing press was truly the first. Unless of course you believe stone tablets were widely circulated, then I could be wrong.
Before Gutenberg created movable metal type, only the aristocratic and ecclesiastical were very literate. It took time for scribes to write a document, and the documents themselves were rather expensive. Even more expensive, both in time and money, was trying to gain enough of an education so as to be able to read. In essence, the vast majority of people in the world did not know how to read or write.
After Gutenberg’s invention around 1450, books, letters, and other manuscripts could be produced and copied many times faster, thus decreasing the price and increasing world-wide literacy. Now, even the peasants could have a say in political issues, economies could grow, and wealth would finally have a chance to spread – all because communication was made possible over a massive scale.
Yes, the internet connects the world together; and, yes, television is broadcasted in millions of homes each year; and, yes, radio and newspapers disperse public, local, and national events in a cheap and effective way, but none of this would have been possible had literacy not come to the common man. Knowledge is power, and the spread of knowledge originated with the printing press – not the newspaper, or the radio, or even the internet. Don’t agree with me? That’s perfectly fine, everyone has a right to be crazy.
The greatest mass media invention ever? To me this is a very simple choice: The internet. No other form of mass media reaches more people and in more ways. Internet allows us to connect with people from a different continent within seconds and it serves as an instant communicator. There have been many inventions in mass media along the way that has contributed to the internet, but none before have ever had the impact of the internet, not even close. There are always stepping stones to an invention, but you have to eventually ask yourself which one of those stepping stones had the greatest impact? What other mass media tools do we have? Newspapers, magazines, books, radio broadcasts, news channels, etc……You can get all of them on the internet, and that’s the only case I need to make.
The internet is such a necessity nowadays, it definitely has the greatest impact, like you said, and it is what has provided the advances in technology that we have seen. The future possibilities for what else the internet will impact is infinite, as it is infinite.
Hmm, this was a tough one for me. I agree that the printing press is up there as one of the greatest mass media inventions, but why was it necessary? To me, the book was probably the greatest invention of all time. Although when they were first produced they weren’t widely circulated because it took so long to copy them word for word, thousands of times, but someone somewhere read one that they thought everyone would benefit from. Hence, the printing press! If someone hadn’t found books so interesting, they would never have thought to try and get them circulated more. Without books, neither the printing press or the internet, or any other type of mass media would have come to fruition. It had to start somewhere for this to all be possible.
This one is a bit of a tough one but I would definitely agree to the fact that the printing press was one of if not the greatest mass media device. This is from a “starting” stand point. In today’s world the internet itself would have to be one of the strongest forms of mass media. When looking to the full interpretation of mass media I would say that even before the printing press messengers and and militant leaders were the first to truly give information out on a massive scale. These messengers would read out loud to massive groups of people in order to give information. Of course this is not the best as it only pertains to those who are in the direct area, but at the same time it is similar to the press or even books and newspapers because they still had to wait and print all this information in a small quantities and not all those during the time of the printing press were able to have the books or get the same type of information as those who were privy to that piece of life.
The greatest mass media invention of all time, in my opinion, is the smartphone. Though it is not an invention that has arisen solely by itself as other inventions have brought about its existence, it offers up far more for the future, with regards to its technological advances. In the present, a small handheld device, which grows thinner and smaller with each upgrade, has the ability to access whatever media we wish. Anything possible that needs to be done to make our lives run more efficiently is an app available with just a touch of the screen
Imagine if the technology that runs the smartphone were to be encompassed in chips so small they could be implanted in the brain. That is a possible possibility. Sending messages would have new meaning, and abilities only imaginable within the paranormal would be attainable. If a smartphone can have a wireless internet capability, what of a small chip implanted in a person? Instant messaging, email, or an update in social status between two people or more would solidify the term of mass media communication. The feedback would be quick and extremely instantaneous, as just a thought consciously sent could be received just as quick. The possible technological advances brought about by the constant upgrades to the smartphone and the possible mass media outcomes is why this is the greatest invention of all time.
The internet wins the cake on this one! Without there wouldn’t be as many outlets for mass media as there is. Quick and easy, people can now see and react to mass things at any given moment and it’s the coolest thing ever!
I believe that I can agree that the internet could probably be considered the greatest mass media invention ever. The internet is used everywhere all the time. It is used in every aspect of life. We use it to connect to those who are millions of miles away. Sure there are many things that have contributed to the success and impact of the internet but just having the internet invented was a huge success. With the internet you are able to get anything you want just at your fingertips.
Personally, I believe that television was one of the greatest. I say one of the greatest because I think it’s impossible to say that one invention was more important than the other: They ALL have made significant changes for mass media. However, I choose the television because of the possibilities it created. After the invention of television, broadcasting became a roaring business. In the 1950s, almost twice as many television sets were sold as there were children born (p 185)! Holy cow. So suddenly, almost all of America has a television set, and with the invention of cable, almost anybody could reach the programming put out. Not only could this programming be broadcasted to hundreds of folks at the same time, but it could be delivered quickly. The invention of the printing press also allowed for widespread, fast(er) distribution, but television gave actual moving images of real life people to support the stories they were sharing. I think this is an amazing phenomenon. Imagine being one of the first people to watch another person who was a fair distance away, showing up in a tiny little box, tell you the news! It would have been incredible to witness. I think the television was the first type of media that allowed the views to connect to the human emotion of the stories. Words can create emotions within us, but seeing them through another human being can be life changing. I think that the internet is important as well, but I don’t think the internet and all that it encompasses would have came to be if it weren’t for television.
The greatest mass media invention of all time is undoubtedly the internet. I can personal say that the Internet, above all other forms of media, has effected my life the greatest. Although television allowed for the more immediate distribution of media globally, there are many people in the world, my family included, who detested the use of television. Since I was eleven years old my mother cancelled our cable subscription. TV is clearly something anyone can live without, and easily to boot. Internet however in this day and age is a necessity. College students are almost required to have their own computers and just about every building on college campuses have Wifi readily available. I could also see internet replacing television in the near future, or possible the convergence of both mediums. Again using college students as an example, the majority of us who live on campus do not have access to regular television in our rooms, so we typically turn to the internet for watching anything from TV shows, to movies, to helpful homework tutorials. On top of that, the internet is the fastest way of communicating at long distances, across countries and continents alike. For all these reasons I am nominating the Internet to win the award for the greatest mass media invention ever.
I think the cell phone has done more to liberate society than all other inventions. The printing press, the computer, they are great at disseminating information. But there is nothing like being able to call a friend while driving, or get family opinions on dinner while shopping for groceries, or call a tow truck from the side of the road.
I am old enough to remember what it was like before them, when only James Bond and Maxwell Smart had portable phones (hidden in the heel of a shoe). We got along just fine without them, mind you. And when the cordless phone came out, we thought we were living in the space age. But life really took a sharp turn when cell phones came out. It was the beginning of big dreams and endless possibilities to come.
The Haveman Chronicle (Summer)
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