The basic characteristics of the information society are the following (Turow, 2011):
- The opportunity for any entity of macro and micro social media to get any information and knowledge necessary for life, and embodiment of the personal and social creativity.
- Availability of the modern technological base for these purposes.
- Presence of infrastructures that can ensure creation of the necessary national information resources and adequate research and production of creative macro- and microenvironment for their use.
- Accelerated automation and robotics in all spheres of production and management.
- Radical changes in the microenvironment of the social development of the sphere of information and services. In other words, it is provision of socio-cultural cycle of appropriate communication channels and support staff.
Formation of such a society is related to information and computer revolution, namely, the number of global processes that contribute to the emergence of the information society: electronization, computerization, mediatization, informatization of society. These and similar technocratic visions of the information society usually leave without attention the qualitative aspect of the information that is circulating and must circulate through the channels of mass communication.
Scientific and technological progress has had a significant impact on the capacity of information distribution and specifics of media environment formation. This is evident not only in increasing the total number of media that can attract the attention of ever-increasing audience. The dynamic development of computer technology and, in particular, the Internet, introduction of various programs operating in it (e.g., Skype, ICQ, etc.), translation of printed media to electronic formats, allowing for attraction of young audience to reading periodicals – all of this shows development of qualitatively new methods and forms of information flow. Its availability and efficiency of distribution in these cases becomes immeasurably higher than that of traditional media.
Technical breakthrough in the communication process that we witnessed within the last 15-20 years is a consequence of its globalization. Globalization is understood as a particular social process, in which geographical limitations of social and cultural activities are surmounted, and the activity is gaining a functional nature. Formation of the information society is directly related to the process of globalization, as by its means the actual possibility of informing is expanding (Baran & Davis, 2012). Messages from one source can easily get to another, and in his way, unification of these messages for different audience groups takes place. The increasing volume of information and new technological possibilities of its creation and distribution thus define information globalization. It, in fact, allows for providing dynamic information penetration into people's consciousness. Moreover, it not only meets the educational interests of society members, but also acquires the real value, directly affecting the adoption of political and economic decisions, contributing to overcoming or, conversely, exacerbating crises in the world.
All of this creates qualitatively new characters of reality perception. Entirely new social and informational environment are forming that influence the behavior of individuals. On the one hand, the situation itself offers unprecedented possibilities of learning about the world. Thanks to advances in computer technology, wireless communication, a person, wherever he is, is not just a particle of huge society, but is able to independently and simultaneously influence the minds and feelings of many others. On the other hand, under the influence of the updated information environment the international community has already faced a number of new specific cultural and ethical phenomena that change the spirit and mentality of society.
The lack of uniform standards regarding the power of mass media influence leads to the conclusion that the impact on society can range from minor to very severe, depending on the circumstances and the situation in the society. For example, during disasters, even in a society with predominantly individualistic features interests of individuals are pushed to the back burner, society integrates and becomes easily manageable. It is much more difficult to influence decision-making in the community with a stable political and economic situation.
Baran, S. J. & Davis, D. K. (2012). Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment, and Future (6th ed.). Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.
Turow, J. (2011). Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication (4th ed.). New Jersey: Taylor & Francis.