Having already completed most of my basic prerequisite courses for Communications, Chapter 3 was mostly review. There’s a chapter similar to this one in almost every Comm textbook I’ve bought since freshman year; it lays down the foundation of communication at its most basic level, and as I read Chapter 3 I was reminded of COMM 101 with Dr. McArthur (great class)!  Luckily, I never seem to get too tired of reading about communication at its roots, and I always am reminded of a few interesting points that I haven’t thought of in a while.

I thought it was actually really interesting to read about the traditional theories of communication. I recognized all of the contemporary theories from Comm. Theory class, but it was especially interesting to read the ideas from the past that have since been disproved. The two-step flow theory identifies the mass media as the dominant factor by which people are influenced. I did some research and found that this theory was originally developed in 1944 by Paul Lazarsfeld; in 1944 the mass media probably was the primary medium influencing the public. I thought this was interesting because it shows how much change we’ve undergone as a society, and how much our communication has evolved in nearly seventy years. “Indeed, when media is less ‘mass’ than it is ‘targeted’ –through Web sites, blogs, cable TV, talk radio, etc.–people today are influenced by a great many factors, of which the mass media may be one but is not necessarily the dominant one.” (pg. 47)

Another part of the chapter that I found interesting was the breaking down of communication to the word. “Communication begins with words.” (pg. 50) Words mean different things to different people, and are always changing in our language. The textbook points out that words can even “cause us to kill or be killed”, which seems like a bit much, but I guess could be true for some people. Anyway, I think that the textbook builds off the concept of the word extremely well, as they continue into slightly more intricate aspects of communication, like the media.