Mass Media Evolution and Influence on American Culture
The biggest evolutions in mass media in the last century can be attributed to considering the advent of broadcast communications such as television and radio and new media such as the creation of the Internet. Both had their own substages, such as in the 20th century, at first radio became popularized which allowed for a rapid spread of information and beginnings of the entertainment industry with music and other auditory mediums. Adoption of television was a slow process as at first, they were rare and expensive. It is only by the late 1960s and 1970s, that the television became a staple household item. It changed the lifestyle of American families as the television became not only an item to receive media or entertainment, but a family gathering and potential traditions (watching the news in the morning, Thanksgiving parades, and Christmas movies).
The visual mass media grew with the widespread adoption of television and evolved into massive mass media conglomerates that produced content of various genres and purposes. Radio continued to be relevant throughout the 20th century, however, as television was largely a household item and people relied on the radio for media on the go. Both of these are known as traditional media. New media is the evolution of mass media with the advent of the Internet in the 1990s. It allowed for greater interconnectivity and eventually a collection of various mediums on one platform. This stage underwent evolutions as well as technology evolved. Social media appeared which allowed the public and private sharing of various contents.
Finally, smartphones became prevalent, which resulted in media convergence of virtually every type of existing mass media, ranging from print to audio to film and television on one device. New media has greatly changed lifestyles as now most individuals consume media on the go rather than in traditional household gatherings. Even if present at home, each family member consumes media independently due to a great availability of choice based on taste. New media has the advantage of being readily available at any time, being more cost-effective as most content on the Internet is either free or follows a subscription-based model in exchange for access to significant catalogs of media, as well as being extremely versatile, accessed from a myriad of electronic devices in any part of the globe with an internet connection.