The Age of Mass Communication: The Revolution in the Mode of Information Production and Its Effect

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.11, 2018


The Age of Mass Communication: The Revolution in the Mode of Information Production and Its Effect



Sui Yan


The elevation of the status of audiences as actors and the spread of mobile internet technology constitute a challenge to the highly organized media monopoly of mass communication. Together with interpersonal communication, organizational communication, and especially highly connected group communication, they form a complex new communication environment and structure, catalyzing a revolution in the mode of information production and ushering in a new era of online group communication in which “everyone is an information producer.” Group communication satisfies the need for socialized interactive exchange of ordinary individuals’ perceptions together with the socialized spread of emotion. The socialized communication of ordinary people’s emotions and perceptions becomes a striking phenomenon in a new communicative environment and a new mode of information production. Internet technology has changed the linear mode of communication of the mass communication era, which was centered on the sender, and constructed an online communication structure in which netizens and connectivity are the main factors. This breaks the monopoly of traditional information producers, and leads to a shift in the social position and power of mediafigures. Internet communication challenges the mode by which the mass media allocate social resources solely to a small number of elite groups, unlike the new mode of information production which has for the first time a history of allocating social resources to ordinary people. Some events involving individuals show that people employ internet group communication to attract society’s attention, acquire social resources, and reconstruct resource distribution, thereby partially reproducing the social structure.