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Media (the plural of medium) are the collective communication outlets or tools that are used to store and deliver information or data. It is either associated with communication media, or the specialized communication businesses such as: print media and the press, photography, advertising, cinema, broadcasting (radio and television), and/or publishing.
The word medium is defined as "one of the means or channels of general communication, information, or entertainment in society, as newspapers, radio, or television." 
The Persian Empire (centred on present-day Iran) played an important role in the field of communication. It devised what might be described as the first real mail or postal system, which is said to have been developed by the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great (c. 550 BC) after his conquest of Media. The role of the system as an intelligence gathering apparatus is well documented, and the service was (later) called angariae, a term that in time turned to indicate a tax system. The Old Testament (Esther, VIII) makes mention of this system: Ahasuerus, king of Medes, used couriers for communicating his decisions.
The word communication is derived from the Latin root communicare. This was due to the Roman Empire also devising what might be described as a mail or postal system, in order to centralize control of the empire from Rome. This allowed for personal letters and for Rome to gather knowledge about events in its many widespread provinces. More advanced postal systems later appeared in the Islamic Caliphate and the Mongol Empire during the Middle Ages.
The term "media" in its modern application relating to communication channels is traced back to its first use as such by Canadian communications theorist Marshall McLuhan, who stated in Counterblast (1954): "The media are not toys; they should not be in the hands of Mother Goose and Peter Pan executives. They can be entrusted only to new artists, because they are art forms." By the mid-1960s, the term had spread to general use in North America and the United Kingdom. ("Mass media", in contrast, was, according to H.L. Mencken, used as early as 1923 in the United States.)
In the last century, a revolution in telecommunications has greatly altered communication by providing new media for long distance communication. The first transatlantic two-way radio broadcast occurred in 1906 and led to common communication via analogue and digital media:
- Analog telecommunications include some radio systems, historical telephony systems, and historical TV broadcasts.
- Digital telecommunications allow for computer-mediated communication, telegraphy, and computer networks.
Modern communication media now allow for intense long-distance exchanges between larger numbers of people (many-to-many communication via e-mail, Internet forums, and teleportation). On the other hand, many traditional broadcast media and mass media favor one-to-many communication (television, cinema, radio, newspaper, magazines, and also social media).
Electronic media is enjoying broader use every day with an increase in electronic devices being made. Technology has become a time consuming act that distracts youth from interacting personally with friends and family through face-to-face contact. Social disengagement is evident which can be associated with poor quality of life both physically and mentally. Wellman found that “33% of Internet users said that the Internet had improved their connections to friends ‘a lot’, and 23% said it had increased the quality of their communication with family members by a similar amount. Young people in particular took advantage of the social side of the Internet. Nearly half (49%) of the 18–29 year olds said that the Internet had improved their connections to friends a lot. On the other hand, 19% of employed Internet users said that the Internet had increased the amount of time they spent working in home” (Lee, Leung, Lo, Xiong, & Wu p. 377 & 378). Electronic media now comes in the forms tablets, laptops, desktops, cell phones, mp3 players, DVDs, game systems, radios, and television. Technology has spiked to record highs within the last decade, thus changing the dynamic of communication. The meaning of electronic media, as it is known in various spheres, has changed with the passage of time. The term media has achieved a broader meaning nowadays as compared to that given it a decade ago. Earlier, there was multimedia, once only a piece of software (application software) used to play audio (sound) and video (visual object with or without sound). Following this, it was CD (Compact Disc) and DVD (Digital Versatile Disc), then camera of 3G (Third Generation) applications in the field. In modern terms, the media includes all the software which are used in PC (Computer) or Laptop or Mobile Phone installed for normal or better performance of the system; today, however, hard discs (used to increase the installation capacity of data) of computer is an example of electronic media. This type of hard disc is becoming increasingly smaller in size. The latest inclusion in the field is magnetic media (magnetic stripe) whose application is common, in the fastest growing Information Technology field. Modern day IT media is commonly used in the banking sector and by the Income Tax Department for the purpose of providing the easiest and fastest possible services to the consumers. In this magnetic strip, account information linking to all the data relating to a particular consumer is stored. Credit card, Debit card, ATM card, High end travel card are comprised within the term Media as it is known today. The main features of these types of media are prepared unrecorded (blank form), and data is normally stored at a later stage as per the requirement of its user or consumer.
Media technology has made communicating increasingly easier as time has passed throughout history. Today, children are encouraged to use media tools in school and are expected to have a general understanding of the various technologies available. The internet is arguably one of the most effective tools in media for communication. Tools such as e-mail, Skype, Facebook etc., have brought people closer together and created new online communities. However, some may argue that certain types of media can hinder face-to-face communication and therefore can result in complications like identity fraud.
In a large consumer-driven society, electronic media (such as television) and print media (such as newspapers) are important for distributing advertisement media. More technologically advanced societies have access to goods and services through newer media than less technologically advanced societies.
Media, through media and communications psychology, has helped to connect diverse people from far and near geographical location. It has also helped in the aspect of on-line or internet businesses and other activities that have an on-line version. All media intended to affect human behavior is initiated through communication and the intended behavior is couched in psychology. Therefore, understanding media and communications psychology is fundamental in understanding the social and individual effects of media. The expanding field of media and communications psychology combines these established disciplines in a new way.
Timing change based on innovation and efficiency may not have a direct is correlation with technology. The information revolution is based on modern advancements. During the 19th century, the information "boom" rapidly advanced because of postal systems, increase in newspaper accessibility, as well as schools "modernizing". These advancements were made due to the increase of people becoming literate and educated. The methodology of communication although has changed and dispersed in numerous directions based on the source of its sociocultural impact. Biases in the media that affects religious or ethnic minorities takes the form o racism in the media and Islamophobia in the media.
- Colombo's All-Time Great Canadian Quotations, 1994, John Robert Colombo, Stoddart Publishing, ISBN 0-7737-5639-6, p. 176.
|Look up media in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- McQuail, Denis (2000) McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory (fourth edition), Sage, London, pp. 16–34. MAS
- Biagi, S. (2004). Media Impact. Wadsworth Pub Co, 7th edition.
- Caron, A. H. and Caronia, L. (2007). Moving cultures: mobile communication in everyday life. McGill-Queen's University Press.