By Stefanie Bacarella
Communication has served to be a vital part of politics. Developing communication technologies, since the founding of our country, has influenced some forms of political communication. American politicians advertise themselves using media and these new forms of technologies for their election races and campaigns.
Around the time of the early American republic, several forms of political communication were used to impact the colonies about American independence from Great Britain. Political communication through writing letters, having closed or private meetings, and speeches were very popular. By 1773, the committees of correspondence formed to spread news and to expand the audience. Newspapers were a great source of information because it was accessible. Like the newspaper, pamphlets spread and reached a great audience. The famous pamphlet written by Thomas Paine called Common Sense, sold thousands of copies within the first year of being published. Although newspapers and pamphlets widened the community of readers, they were slow means of political communication.
By the 1840’s, newspapers became independent, and therefore, improvements in printing technology were made. Thousands of copies were made in one day so news could spread faster. William Henry Harrison had campaign newspapers printed to support him in the election race, and his campaign image was created. This led him to win the presidential election.
The invention of the radio in the 1920’s contributed greatly to political communication. For the first time, people could hear the voices of candidates. This helped the politician gain recognition and power. Moreover, the innovation of the television in 1950 became the dominant medium for politics, and it still does today. The television, like the radio, allows the audience to have a personal view with the candidate. Today the candidates use television to broadcast debates, and commercials about them. Also, we can see what the candidates look like besides knowing what their platform is.
Today, the Internet serves as a great form of political communication. Bloggers can voice their thoughts on politics and politicians can get in touch with the public since the popularity of the Internet is currently increasing. In the 2008 election, Barack Obama used Facebook to gain “likes” and he even used technology to gain support by texting his supporters who he chose for Vice President. Obama made several powerful speeches and had great debates. Both can be seen on YouTube by anyone. Additionally, he made weekly updates on YouTube to connect with his supporters. This emphasizes just how powerful speeches still are in campaigning.
Mitchell Stephens, the author of the article “The Next Room,” focuses on how media has a major impact on everyone’s life. He comments that there has been a significant difference with our forms of entertainment that has developed over the past couple of years. The death of books and readership has risen as well as the popularity of technology, such as television. He notes that it is as “efficiently and effectively as printed words alone.” It takes up most of our daily lives because we are so attracted to its moving images. With this come several benefits and dangers from using it too much.
Television has positive and negative effects on children. Some positive effects are that children can learn from child education television programs. They can learn to read and spell. Also, television is something that can be understood by anyone. You do not need to be literate to understand what is going on which is one of the reasons it is so popular and used frequently.
Negative effects include that children are obsessed over video games. There have been several studies indicating that violent and explicit video games can affect future behavior. This has been expressed through sexual and violent behavior. Also, it leads to obesity. Children chose to watch TV over moving their bodies or being active. They’d rather sit on the couch and watch their favorite programming. Kids would lack creative skills as well. In addition, television programming can display deceptions of reality. This would cause the child to have false ideas and perceptions of realities, leading to disappointment. In addition, it causes children to not read.
Stephen states that the number of Americans who actually read books has dramatically decreased. He adds that reading was once a major form of entertainment and that it could be found in every room of the house. This has stopped due to technology. This points out to the fact that there is a decrease in the significance of a printed word.
The media diet has changed significantly due to the advancements in technology. Nowadays, young Americans do not pay as much attention to the TV as they used to, therefore it is not much of a dominant form. The media diet, as of 2013, consists of YouTube, the Internet, and social networking. It is the advanced technologies that provide this access to this media diet. Television is still a popular form of entertainment, however, it does not connect you with another person like an IPhone or a laptop can. The IPhone and laptop are both portable so they can be accessed at any time, which can be a benefit, however, they can serve as a distraction. By serving as a distraction, they can lower grades and academic performance.
A popular purchase of the consumers is cellphones/smartphones. There is a study that shows that young children are attracted to cell phones. Since 2009, 83 percent of 17 year-olds, 82 percent of 16 year-olds, and 79% of 15 year-olds have cell phones. In 2004, 64 percent of 17 year-olds, 59 percent of 16 year-olds, and 48 percent of 15 year-olds owned cell phones. This is a huge difference. It indicates the growth in popularity with cell phones. In a New York Times article, it was said that kids with these cell phones spend more than 7.5 hours with them. This is a huge part of our day, and most of it is dedicated to media and technology, specifically social networking and surfing the web.
King, Elliot. “Chapter 6- Communication in Polotics.” Trans. Array Currents in Communication. Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2010. 151-165. Print.
Stephens, Mitchell. “The Next Room.” Trans. Array Currents in Communication. Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2010. 95-100. Print.