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Nowadays, the twenty-first century person has any information available at his/her fingertips twenty four hours a day. The development of such thing as mass media during the last century has prompted different changes. People get smarter in some ways and perhaps less intelligent in others. Thus, the influence it has over the American culture can be probably best described as incontestably positive as well as unquestionably negative.
Over the years, the United States (as well as the whole world) have witnessed enormous, yet not fully coordinated evolution of mass media communication services such as television and the Internet, which were introduced in addition to already existing media prints and radio. During the mid-1950s, broadcasting television appeared as the means of the mass media. The latest news, dramas, comedies, music and many other contents from all types of mass media in a single, close at hand household piece of equipment. Later on, in the early 1990s, an unpredictable progress was observed considering online services. From the beginning, the chances were high that the Internet may become a powerful replacement or, maybe, even a counterforce to the effect that mass media haa already produced over the public culture and taste of the ordinary Americans. However, by the turn of the 21st century, the well-known paradigm of mass-media evolution had reaffirmed itself over the new field. The media corporations had become the leading servers, spreading their household names to the latest source of news, amusement and distraction.
The media holds a central position in the cultural environment of the nation. That is why it might be blamed for the majority of the society’s illnesses. The fact that media form the way people see the world around them is doubtless. It is especially evident when people have no previous experience in the outer world. In addition, mass media can make people superstitious and more reliable on their prejudices, which were previously formed with a help of positive and negative images created by all those TV programs, advertisements, newspaper articles and the Internet blogs. However, the most prominent concern is the ever-lasting portrayal of violence in the media, which makes the young generation constantly go beyond the law.
Not so long ago, media people seemed to be very excited about so called “media convergence”. The processes of melding together different types of information and uniting new individualized services were regarded as both impressive and overwhelming. An implementation of highly developed computer machines, the shift to new digital platforms and the invention of high-speed networks have brought new customs, behaviors and habits (Wilkinson, 2003). Longstanding barriers of time and space are virtually rejected. Newspapers can deliver video, radio has web-cams, and TV sets can offer interactive chats. Thus, the lines between getting information, education, promotion or entertainment are blurred, so it is difficult to distinct between intrapersonal, interpersonal, and mass communication. Media convergence is something that influences everyone in their everyday life and forces the society to adapt and, accordingly, change from the inside.
Technology is changing so fast that ordinary people do not have the chance to absorb the societal effects of a new form of communication. However, the media is changing even quicker as it always has to take the lead. Consequently, it means that the twenty first century is the age of information and disinformation, and it is important to wade through the onslaught of both.