Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communications // FMP

“Communication technologies and global interconnectedness provide people with ready direct access to information worldwide independent of time and place and unfettered by institutional and moneyed gatekeepers.  The public is less dependent on a mediated filter-down system of persuasion and enlightenment.  These vastly expanded opportunities for self-directedness underscore the growing primacy of agentic initiative in human adaptation and change in the electronic era.  Ready access to communication technologies will not necessarily enlist active participation unless people believe they can achieve desired results by this means.  Perceived personal and collective efficacy partly determines the extent to which people use this resource and the purposes to which they put it.” – Albert Bandura, Stanford University.

“The media play an indispensable role in the proper functioning of a democracy. Without mass media, openness and accountability are very tough to reach in contemporary democracies. The media can inform the public of how effectively the current government or candidates have performed in the past and help to them to account. Nevertheless, mass media can also hinder political transparency as well as help it. Politicians and political operatives can simulate the political virtues of transparency through rhetorical and media manipulation. There are three major societal functions that mass media perform to the political decisions raised by the political scientist Harold Lasswell: surveillance of the world to report ongoing events, interpretation of the meaning of events, and socialization of individuals into their cultural settings. The mass media regularly present politically crucial information on huge audience and it also represents the reaction from the audience rapidly through the mass media. The government or the political decision makers have the chance to have a better understanding of the real reaction from the public of those decisions they have made.”





I was thinking about this a lot today… I remember having a pen-pal when I was in primary school, and it was a wonderful experience.  I remember the excitement of receiving a new one, and what I’d learn about this different corner of the globe that I was writing to.  In essence I think it’s a really valuable way to glean a bit more understanding about a different culture or a different country, and at the very least make you a bit more aware of your place on Earth.  It’s a charming way to communicate, particularly through handwritten notes or postcards that give you a snapshot into someone else’s life.

There’s something to this I think, particularly with the avenue I’m going down.  At a glance, we have all this technology and all the possibility for worldwide communication, but how many people do we actually communicate with?  Particularly with the age group I’m looking at (secondary age, 11-18), I can’t help but think about how much value there could be from communicating like this, and sharing worthwhile and interesting information with each other.  Yes, there’s Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, but we’re met with a barrage of information every day, so it would be nice to have a dedicated service that connects students, teachers, educators and professionals in a way that stands to benefit us all.

I now desperately want a pen-pal and to receive things in the post because the only thing I get are utility bills and takeaway menus.  This website looks interesting.  They put you in touch with someone, somewhere in the world, and you can send postcards to one another.  Joyous.