BlogPageWelcome to my blog -- Grace's Rantings

I have made a study of human communication -- interpersonal as well as mass media.  I am intrigued by tremendous changes in human interaction in recent years.  The computer, Internet, smart phones and social media have dramatically changed the way we interact with each other.  Human discourse hasn't changed, but the mediums by which we communicate have..."and that has made all the difference".


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All Communication is Social

There really isn't anything new about Facebook or Twitter. We are social beings, we like to communicate with each other. The technology has allowed us to communicate differently, but communicate is what we've always done. Shortly after Homo Sapiens cave drawinggraced the scene, we developed language to communicate with each other, and a thousand or so years later we developed written communication. The rest is history!

Up until fairly recently in human history, our communication consisted of the hand written letter. It took awhile to write, a week to get to the recipient, and another week or so for the response to get back to us. Oh the waiting. Do mailboxyou remember checking the mail box and the feeling of excitement when there was a letter from a friend?

A century or so ago, the telegraph allowed us to communicate more quickly, and the then the telephone introduced instantaneous oral communication across the miles. We could talk in real time to someone who was physically far away from us. Back when there was one phone line in the house, I'm sure you remember running for the phone, saying, "I'll get it", because just maybe the call was for you!

In more recent times, along came e-mail and we could type up a quick note in a few seconds, hit send, and if the recipient was at their computer, they could write back in just a few minutes.  email Even if they weren't there, we often got a response within the day. With e-mail, we can even send a note to a group of people at once. Plus, just like opening the mailbox and finding a letter, there is still some excitement about having an e-mail from a friend in your in-box.

Next came Instant Messenger. As it's name says. Instant Messenger allows us have instant conversation, (somewhat like we do with a phone call). We can write and respond sentence by sentence. With IM, we can even have different conversations with multiple people simultaneously. And yes, when we are working at our computer and we get a little IM sound letting us know that someone wants to chat, our curiosity is piqued and we stop what we are doing to read the message.

The written letter was one-to-one communications, e-mail was mostly one-to-one, but could be one-to-many, IM opened up the many-to-many communication channel. Then along came "social media", like Facebook and Twitter and we have the ability to social mediacommunicate to hundreds, even thousands instantaneously. And. unlike earlier forms of communication, we may not know many of the people at the other end of our communication, certainly we may not don't know them all very well.

But, whether it is a written letter, telegraph, telephone, e-mail, IM, Facebook or twitter, the basic premise is the same -- human interaction. The technology has changed, and often we get so wrapped up in the new technology that we lose sight of what it is we are doing ... we are communicating with others; we are being social.

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