The Evolution of Communication

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Communication has evolved greatly due to advances in technology. This essay is broken into three main parts. Firstly, I will outline some of the major inventions that have shaped the way people communicate today. I will argue that communication has improved due to technological advances and explain why technology has had a positive effect on communication in general. Furthermore, I will describe some of the communication standards necessary for public sector officials to apply, so that the level of integrity the public expects is preserved. Whilst looking at these standards I will apply them to the Queensland Police Service. Technology has been an essential aspect to the evolution of communication. Without technology human interaction would be confined to oral interaction, symbols, and face to face meetings. The invention of writing and the alphabet has enabled humans to communicate with each other over distance and time (Deal, 2008). Communication was no longer restricted to oral encounters and communicating information no longer relied primarily on memory. The need for a system that could accurately record information arose, and with that the invention of the printing press allowed for standardised recordings of ideas, concepts, and knowledge (Wilcox, 2004). Before the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, books where handwritten and often filled with errors due to spelling and hand writing. Written language was standardised through print material and literacy rates increased throughout the populace (Wilcox, 2004). Through language, writing and print, information could now be transmitted accurately without the restriction of verbal, face to face communication. The printing press is seen as a major revolution of communication. In the 20th century, the age of electronic communication, is seen by many as the next revolution in communication. With the invention of the telephone and telegraph, people could communicate almost instantly over great distance. These technologies where designed mainly for one to one communication, but the invention of radio and television allowed for a message to be transmitted to a large number of people at the same time (Deal, 2008). The invention of computers and the internet has changed the way people communicate, store, receive, and retrieve information. The internet, invented in the 1970‟s, was originally used by scientists and government officials, particularly the military, for file sharing and storing, and in-house communications. It wasn‟t until the 1990‟s when personal computers became affordable and popular that the internet was embraced by the general populace (Wilcox, 2004). The Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that in 2008-09, 72% of Australian households had home internet access and 78% of households had access to a computer. Between 1998 to 2008-09, household access to the internet at home had gone from 16% to 72%. The ABS also states that 86.8% of Australian business had internet access for the years 2007-08 (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006). These figures clearly demonstrate the increased use and availability of the internet within Australia. The World Wide Web is a plethora of information and a major channel of communication used today. Communication capabilities range from email, IM (instant Messaging), blogs, video conferencing, information retrieval, websites, the possibilities are endless. With the tools that we use to communicate today, one has to wander what impact communication technology has had on our ability to communicate effectively. What is communication? Mohan (2008) provides us with four definitions of communication. Communication is “the transmission of messages, the social interaction through messages, the reciprocal creation of meaning in context and the sharing of meaning through information, ideas and feelings” (p5). When we are communicating we are transmitting meaning or...
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