Communication is vital to humankind. Without it, we can’t have cooperation. Without cooperation, we would fail as a species. From the development of language before we started recording history, impossible without communication, we humans have worked together towards a common goal, survival. Unfortunately, we have strayed away from that, but that’s a topic for another blog.
In the last few decades, advances in technology have revolutionized communication. We now have the ability to communicate with people all over the globe at very little expense. People with similar interests are banding together by the thousands, across national boundaries. The internet has created a global community limited only by language. Businesses can reach customers around the globe, again, with little expenditure. Email, text messages, and mobile telephones have freed us from remaining stationary. We can do business, catch up with gossip from anywhere at any time. Anywhere at any time, someone is using a computer or mobile phone to communicate with someone else.
The downside to all of this communication is that it is hard to escape it. The internet brings us together and almost smothers us. We are losing the ability to communicate face-to-face, which is not good for our mental health. Face-to-face communication is the oldest form of communication. Early humans used it to hunt and gather cooperatively. That allowed the group to survive harsh weather conditions and times of scarce game. It also led to the first misunderstandings and quarrels.
As technology developed, we moved away from the face-to-face communications, first by the invention of writing, which allowed us to store knowledge in book form, making it easier to pass knowledge from generation to generation. Death no longer halted communication.
We could also send letters to people, communicating with people far away, albeit in a slow manner. The invention of the telegraph changed that, making communication between far-flung people more immediate, if a bit expensive. The Telephone changed that, making it possible to talk to someone in another country in what we now call real time.
The problem with the telephone was that its signals had to move through wires. Radio changed that. Now people would get news, information and entertainment from centrally located areas. Television added pictures to the mix. Soon, people were experimenting with sending messages through radio, forgoing the telegraph.
Computers brought a new medium for writing. Words still had to be printed on paper and mailed, but it wasn’t long before email was born. As the telephone evolved into the smart phones of today, we began to move away from the face-to-face daily communications. Sometimes we even use our mobile phone devices to locate our friends within the same building. I’ve often called my brother while in a store because we had become separated. You often see teenagers texting each other while in the same room.
The communication age has dawned and it has its up side and its down side. Texting while driving is a down side. People seem to lose all common sense when they are confronted with something they like to do, like texting. Texting someone who is in the same room with you is just silly, but not dangerous. This technology must be controlled, but it should be controlled by the user, using a certain amount of common sense. Unfortunately common sense is far from common.