Media are basically the non-public communication tools or resources utilized to deliver and store data or information. The word refers generally to the components of this mass media communications sector, including print media, broadcasting, theatre, music, photography, video, online publishing, and advertising. These components often come together to form the major components of a medium. Media are used to deliver specific types of content in distinct forms such as books, films, music, images, television, radio, digital, and so on.
For the purpose of the discussion, we will utilize the term “social media” to refer to the various platforms or networks that are commonly employed by many people to share and distribute information. Social media platforms can either be user-based or server-based. This latter portion is particularly useful because it makes it possible for any type of content – in the form of text, images, audio, video, links, documents, etc. – to be stored, hosted, managed, and so on by the users. The most common types of these platforms or networks are social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, StumbleUpon, Flickr, and MySpace.
So far we have discussed only the various components of media. We also need to know what types of content are available on the public opinion and electronic media. We refer here to include opinion polls, news, features, and so on. Examples of opinions available on the electronic media include scientific experiments, political views, artistic creations, product reviews, game reviews, and more. When referring to the public opinion, we include both expert opinion and popular opinion.
Some examples of news/information on the internet include blogs, web logs, podcasts, video, news stories, and so on. Examples of opinion/public opinion media include feature stories/opinions/reviews in major US newspapers, magazine articles, book reviews, news bulletins, featured stories on major television or radio shows, feature stories on prominent newspapers and magazines, and so on. On the other hand, print media include periodicals like newspapers, magazines, business papers, pamphlets, books, journals, and so on. Although television and radio, along with the print media form part of the entertainment industry in which case it would not be surprising if you considered them all as part of the medias.
But perhaps the earliest form of mass media came in the form of pamphlets and leaflets, which were distributed in massive numbers during the early forms of mass communication. Although the print media has made great advances since its beginnings in the 19th century, it still lags far behind digital media in terms of reach and popularity. Perhaps one reason why digital media is becoming more popular is that it does not require a large area to cover, thus reducing the cost of production relative to other forms of mass media. Digital media also allows for better distribution, which makes it a much cheaper option compared to the production of mass media.
Today, people’s choice of medium of communication is quite diversified. Whether they are searching for entertainment, news, or sports updates through their computers or mobile devices, or looking for local weather, entertainment, and news through their televisions or portable media players, they are usually inundated by a plethora of options. So it is with the growing influence of electronic media. From newspapers to magazines to social networks, individuals have a lot of options to choose from when they look for media sources.