Media are basically the electronic communication tools or devices used to transfer and store data or information. The word itself refers to the components of this vast mass communication media, including newspaper, television, magazines, radio, films, even publishing, the internet, photographic, video, and publishing. Media also refer to the viewers or audiences of these media – for example, newspaper viewers or television viewers. In addition, media can also refer to the platforms on which these media are presented, and the effect these platforms have on the audience.
Throughout most of human communication history, the term media has been used to refer to both communication processes and the means of transmitting the information. Early forms of media included bark pots, stone arrowheads, fire, hooves, sticks, shells, and other tools. In modern times, however, the term media often refers to electronic and technological developments that further developed the methods of human communication.
One particular form of media is social media. Social media are those systems and mediums in which people communicate with one another online. Examples include chat rooms, message boards, community websites, social networking sites, Usenet, MySpace, and Yahoo! 360. In a broader sense, social media include all human interaction that happens within a web media system, whether it is limited to two way text-based communication via email, forums, blogs, groups, or photo albums, to real world interactions like group meetings, live events, gaming events, real-time Web conferences, and remote presentations.
In earlier years, the dominant medium for human communication was the print media. With increasing prosperity, more people began to rely on radio and television for news and information. As a result, newspaper circulation and TV ratings declined; as a result, the influence of mass media as a major player in society became minimal. The development of social media has, by contrast, dramatically increased the influence of mass media, especially television, on society at large.
As a result, media monitoring and regulation are a growing industry. In some countries, particularly the developing world, media regulation is seen as a public good. Media regulation allows citizens to obtain information from media sources, such as radio and television stations, and to be able to obtain access to newspapers and other print media. Media businesses are also subject to governmental controls.
The development and proliferation of media have produced numerous changes in communication theory and practice. Changes in the media and communications environment have affected society at large, creating new forms of communication and information dissemination. Media psychology provides a unique perspective on changes in media since the advent of mass media. In fact, media psychology is currently undergoing rapid expansion in order to meet the challenges of an increasingly digitalized and competitive world.