Communication in a Modern World

The communication has always been the crucial part of mankind’s social life. The means of communication has changed according to the changes in people’s living conditions and all other circumstances such as technological developments. We barely have time to pause and reflect these days on how far communications technology has progressed. Without even taking a deep breath, we’ve transitioned from mail to email, from telephone to chat, from newspapers to blogs, and now to social networks. Among the many ways to communicate, we have always used regular mail.

With regular postal service you can send physical items such as a letter, chocolate, or flowers. The downfall to that is that you have to pay for postage. Another disadvantage to regular mail is the response time. We have to wait days for a response back. Email is faster and virtual, not physical. You can receive music, videos or photos electronically. And it has different economics, since you do not have to pay per email message. Now, because email is delivered faster, we send more of it. Because we send more of it, each message is much smaller than a typical letter.

So thinking about it this way, we realize that email not only redefined mail, it created a completely different way of communicating. Instead of sending more information less often, we send less information more often. Although there are several advantages to using email rather than regular mail, a disadvantage would be that it not as personal as regular mail. Way before we had the Internet, we already had a way to communicate faster than via mail – the telephone. The advantages to using the telephone rather than regular mail are that you can hear the caller’s voice, and often get a faster response.

A disadvantage is that there is often no record of the call or what is said, so it is your word versus the caller’s word in a dispute over the content of the discussion. Then when the world went online, instant messaging was invented – which, unlike the telephone, allows you to meet new people. With chatting or instant messaging, you are meeting in an online environment and not in person. So the disadvantage to that is that you never know who you are talking to. Another disadvantage is that we’re not as good at typing as we are talking.

Even today, conversations via chat do not have the same flow as a phone call, because people have learned to multi task during chat. That is not something that you would typically do on a phone call. Despite the differences, the key common attribute between a phone call and an instant message is essentially immediate reach-ability. Regular mail and phone are typically used for one-on-one communication. Newspapers are older forms of one-to-many communication. Newspapers are cheap to purchase and readily available. They can be found almost everywhere. They have a lot of information all rolled up in one.

A large number of people can be reached in a given geographic area especially when the news concerns that area. This information is from different beats of life, be it entertainment, politics, sports, crime, religion, etc. A disadvantage to using a newspaper is that it cost money. Over the past decade, blogs arrived on the scene and they’ve had tremendous success as a form of one-to-many communication. Blogs are free of charge. Anyone can post a comment or read a comment for free. Blogs made feedback frictionless. Like a newspaper, blogs are readily available for anyone to view.

The disadvantage to that is that you must have a computer to do so. The ability for people to get involved and to express their opinions, created a completely different dynamic. Facebook and Twitter jumped in and gave us a new form of communication – instant broadcast with feedback. The advantages of social networking sites are that they allow you to keep in touch with people that you would not on normal circumstances such as old friends, old coworkers, and even family. You can also get to know new people. Another advantage is that you get to have a space of your own on the internet, which can be fun.

One disadvantage is that you can get viruses on your computer. Another disadvantage is that you don’t know who you are talking to. We have so many different ways to communicate in this day and time. Which way you choose to communicate is completely left up to you. Some are more comfortable using the traditional form of communicating. Others prefer the convenience of modern technology. A telephone call, a letter, a chat, an email, a blog, or social networking all has advantages and disadvantages. The important thing is that we actually communicate.