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Communication as a Field of Study

Being social creatures people always face the need to be part of a group or team at some point in their lives. For effective cooperation and socialization, individuals must understand the communication strategy they have to adopt while operating in particular teams and groups. It is obvious that every team will have its peculiar form of communication that is usually characterized by informalities. The scenario occurs because most members working together are used to each other and have a common goal in terms of achieving a particular purpose or an objective of an organization. However, the key question that could be asked in respect to this issue is, do teams and groups interfere an effective communication in the organization? For example, most teams and groups tend to engage in grapevine communication, which is often based on rumors being spread among the team members. Such communication may never reach the management for decision-making.

Another interesting element under discussion is media and new technologies. There has been a rapid technological advancement that has reshaped media and the forms of communication. It also underlines the transformations that have taken place in the communication sphere, as to what concerns media and technology. This issue is rather interesting since IT technologies have become an integral part of people’s daily lives and have significantly affected their communication. This paper compares the ways in which individuals are being able to access communication compared to the time when such technologies did not exist. The important question to be asked here is, how have the new media and new technologies improved the communication and had the communication been simplified? Answering these questions presents an opportunity to understand the different kinds of new media and the role they have played in the transformation of the communication modes. For example, it cannot be denied that the emergence of internet technologies has transformed the communication process entirely. Moreover, continuous reliability on new technologies has been created in the communication process compared to the traditional forms of communication. Most people are likely to access information and easily share different data over the Internet compared to print media being the only way of sharing information during the past century.

Most businesses highly depend on public relations and advertising to gain a competitive advantage in the market. The presence of new media and technologies has simplified the overall process of advertising  and customer attraction for these companies. In most instances, companies come up with enticing adverts to attract their consumers to their business areas. However, the most common question that could be asked in this regard is, do the media weigh the ethical aspect of advertising? Advertisements come in different forms depending on the objective of the company. For example, some companies would intentionally misrepresent information to their consumers hence leading to wrong purchase decisions. Media companies have to bear legal responsibility for such adverts to ensure that the public is not misled by mere public relations and advertisement methods.

Understanding Communication Theories

Let’s consider an opportunity to understand different communication theories and their modes of operation. The first interesting point under discussion relates to the goals of the theory. The second interesting element to be mentioned is the standards for evaluating theories, and the third element is that theories tend to have a limited focus and scope. As it has been mentioned above, the first aspect of the topic being analyzed is the goals of a communication theory. Different goals of the communication theories are discussed enabling the reader to understand the effects of mass communication on society and the public. In addition, people would not have understood the impact of mass communication on their lives without the existence of communication theories. The chapter also clearly presents the view that communication theories serve the purpose of educating people on the utilization of mass media and their effects on their daily lives. In addition, it would have been more difficult for  the society to benefit from the existence of mass media in the absence of such theories. The only question that could expand this discussion is, are there specific theories for different interest groups in the society? The society is extremely diverse, and different groups tend to use mass communication in different ways. For example, the society is made up of men, children, women, activists, and the government. Therefore, it would be relevant to develop theories that target each of these groups independently.

Another salient issue is the standards for evaluating. From the author’s perspective, these concern the relevance of a particular theory. Nevertheless, people would have different perspectives on the relevance and importance of the communication theories in their lives. Some of the suggested criteria for evaluating communication theories include their scope, the heuristic value, parsimony, openness, validity, and appropriateness. In line with the discussion presented in the chapter, it should be noted that the evaluation of a theory is a key part of mass communication discipline. As a result, theories must only be applied in cases where they are relevant to the field. Again, they should be handled in a manner that satisfies the audience. What would happen if mass communication theories were inadequately evaluated? It is clear that individuals would not have the opportunity to receive the information they require. For example, citizens in a given country would not enjoy the benefits of mass communication in cases of insufficient theoretical evaluation.

Lastly, it should be noted that theories have a limited focus and scope. Therefore, as it is asserted in the chapter, all theories have a specific focus on particular matters. It is agreeable because it is rare to find one theory covering more than one element. In fact, their limited scope and focus simplifies them and makes them more usable in the mass communication field. How would theories sound if they had a wider scope? The answer to the question is that they would not have the same sense if looked at from a wider, or different, perspective. They would not have generated the same outcome they do in the current field. For example, a wide theory would not have explained the role of mass communication in regard to the particular aspect. In addition, it might have been focused on other areas that are not relevant to the field. The discussion is reliable in the explanation of the mass communication theories and their continued usage over the years. The chapter provides a better understanding of the field by explaining the relevance of these theories.

Theories of Symbolic Activity

The chapter talks about different perspectives presented by the theorists such as Mead. The first interesting topic being discussed concerns self. The other interesting elements presented in the chapter are the aspect of symbolic interactionism and the guilt of individuals. All these aspects have been presented in an understandable and clear manner, presenting valuable information for the audience.

 Mead’s View on the Self

According to the author of the theory,  individuals are not born with the understanding of self. In the process of development and social formation, an individual becomes a person. The child develops gradually as it interacts with other people through the process of communication. Therefore, the perspectives of other people are important in shaping the appreciating of self among individuals. The question here is, do negative perspectives affect the self? The author notes that the feeling about self emerges from what people think about others. It implies that people’s negative perception of the others is likely to affect their appreciation of self. For example, if people talk negatively about a person of a younger age, it is expected that these people would have a low self-esteem and might not necessarily appreciate their self. The development process is subsequently affected by such negative thoughts about their lives.

Another element of particular interest is the aspect of symbolic interactionism. The consideration of symbolic interactionism brings out an understanding that different people are likely to act according to what different things mean to them. People respect and appreciate different things differently, and would always act in a way that shows their appreciation for such things. Overall, symbolic interactions with other people in the society would always form the basis of understanding different elements. What is the significance of negative and positive symbols in underlining the meaning of different events? In the society, there is always a mixture of both positive and negative symbols. It is important to define their role in developing attitudes in the minds of people. Nevertheless, people would have different views and appreciation of the symbols that exist in the society. There should be an open way of explaining the relevance of every symbol in the formation of perceptions in individuals.

Guilt is one of the salient topics under discussion in the analyzed chapter. It forms the basis of interaction and communication among people. In line with the information presented in the chapter, guilt is concerned with the tension and discomfort that individuals feel when they realize that they have been involved in a negative activity. In fact, it is acceptable that guilt exists when individuals feel that their actions differ from the expected level of perfection. With this in mind, people are always focused on making up for their mistakes through effective communication. The question here is, should people always be guilty to interact and communicate effectively? The author tries to come up with such an explanation. This might not be the case in every situation because people react differently in cases where they experience guilt. Some are likely to keep off other people while others are likely to interact actively with their peers to make up for their mistakes. For example, a person who has mistakenly led to a loss to another person would feel guilty and would be extremely willing to communicate with the aim of clearing up the air. Guilt gives individuals the opportunity to communicate actively as they try to justify their actions. 

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