Collective communication characteristics means and examples

Collective communication  is a type of information exchange in which a main source transmits a message to a massively large number of people, in a completely one-sided manner. This means that recipients of the first message cannot respond, something that most communication processes do not.

Collective communication or  mass media is mainly carried out through technologies such as the press, television or radio. Currently, all these media also have access to the Internet, although in this case the characteristics are a little different, because in most cases there is a certain reciprocity between sender and recipient.

Traditionally, the mass media were in the hands of a few, usually the government and a series of private companies that controlled television, radio and print channels. Today, however, networks have largely democratized the mass transmission of information.

However, despite the fierce competition that the Internet has brought to  traditional media  , they still enjoy great power. In this article, we will see the most important characteristics of collective communication, as well as some of its most representative examples.

Characteristics of collective communication

– Usually institutionalized

Most types of communication can take place between people of all types and social status. However, this is not the case with collective communication. To do this, you need to have certain resources, follow specific rules and have an audience interested in the message you want to send.

Traditionally, the only ones who could use collective communication were big business people, the owners of television and radio channels and the newspapers. Today, this sector has become much more democratized with the emergence of platforms such as blogs or YouTube, but even so, not everyone is able to access this type of communication.

– Forms of public opinion

Collective communication has the peculiarity of being able to influence in a very direct way the opinions, thoughts and ideas of a large number of people at the same time. As a consequence, it has the power to mark public opinion in a very simple way.

The media are well aware of this and generally try to maintain neutrality and objectivity in order to report in the least biased way possible.

On some occasions, however, certain media outlets may manipulate their broadcasts to control the opinion of the general population and achieve certain goals.

– Requires the use of technology

The vast majority of types of communication can be carried out in person and therefore do not require any special equipment or conditions. In this sense, collective communication is quite different, because to reach a large number of people at the same time, it is necessary to have some technological support.

Thus, collective communication as such first appeared with the creation of the press, which allowed a message to be transmitted relatively quickly to a large number of people. Later, each new advance in telecommunications allowed expanding the scope and reach of this way of transmitting information.

– It’s impersonal

By definition, collective communication is not directed at a specific individual, but attacks a more or less broad and personalized audience. One of the most important consequences of this is that, unlike almost all other types of communication, this one is totally impersonal.

When someone receives a message transmitted through collective communication, the information that reaches them is not exclusive to him. On the other hand, large numbers of people all over the world may be receiving the same message. As a consequence, the whole process is cooler and tends to have less impact than other types of closer communication.

Collective media

Mass media is closely linked to technologies that have appeared throughout history. In this section, we will see which are the most important media of this type, as well as their most important characteristics.

– Written press

One of the first types of collective communication to appear was the written press, composed of newspapers, magazines and other similar publications.

Thanks to them, millions of people can access the same content in an easy and simple way, so that they have the possibility to know what is happening in the world and access new information.

– Radio

Radio was the first mass media to appear. The printer made it possible to transmit information to many people at the same time, but even then its scope was limited and the use of this medium involved a significant expense of material resources.

With radio this does not happen. A single sender can deliver his message to millions of people at the same time, as long as he has the right technology. At the same time, communication is a little more personal, as the voice conveys much more information to us than the written word.

– TV

Television was a revolution in the world of collective communication. Today, virtually every home in the Western world has at least one television, and its programs have a great influence on our opinions and ways of thinking.

– Internet

The last great revolution in the world of communications came with the arrival of the Internet and all the tools it brought. Nowadays, anyone with a little creativity and perseverance can reach a good-sized audience and convey their message in different ways, competing with traditional media.

Today, many of the methods of collective communication have to do with the Internet: blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, social networks… All of them allow us to instantly transmit our ideas to millions of people around the world, in addition to allowing a certain reciprocity in communication. that is not present in the other types.


Finally, we will see some examples of collective communication processes.

– A television presenter broadcasting the most important news of the day.

– A radio announcer talking about the release of a new album by a well-known artist.

– A  youtuber  posting an opinion video and getting several million hits.

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