What are the Differences Between Communication Media and Communication Devices?


Communication media and communication devices deliver messages to a receiver or audience. Communication media can be referred to simply as "media" because a common definition for media inherently includes its purpose in communication. Media is "the means of communication, such as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely," according to Dictionary, an online reference site. Communication device refers to a specific tool used to deliver or receive messages.

Communication Media Types

  • Media is the delivery mechanism for an advertising or publication relations communication or message. Advertising and agency representatives work together to build effective marketing messages. They must deliver the messages through the appropriate media at the correct time to connect with their target market. Traditional media include broadcast (TV and radio), print (newspapers and magazines) and, most recently, the Internet, according to a Kentucky Community and Technical College System article on the "The Different Types of Media." Other media, including outdoor (billboards and signage), directories, aerial and transit are considered supportive media to reinforce marketing campaigns. A media class is a broad type of media. A media vehicle is a specific medium within a class. For instance, Vogue magazine is a vehicle used to deliver a message in the magazine media class.

Communication Devices

  • Communication devices are the tools used by senders and receivers to deliver and receive message. More specifically, "Communication devices route and transmit information to various devices, including radio and telephone systems," according to GlobalSpec. Common examples of communication devices noted by GlobalSpec include telephones, cellular phones, wireless and mobile devices, GPS technology systems, radios and transmitters. Specific applications used in conjunction with physical and hardware devices also are noted as "communication devices." These tools include various communication software applications, magnetic receivers, transmitters, and switchboards.

Communication Delivery

  • Common differences between communication media and communication devices are most easily noticed by considering the actual message delivery process and those involved. Communication media comes into play when advertisers pay for or receive time or space to deliver a message through a mass medium. A mass medium generally refers to any type of message delivery vehicle that reaches two or more targeted people. Communication devices are intended to serve as tools for use (usually) by two individuals, or a small group of people, who need to send, receive or exchange messages. Each device offers strengths and weaknesses that enable certain types of communication to be more effective.

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