A Brief History
On March 3, 1885, American Telephone and Telegraph Company was formed to provide the first telephone services to a wide audience, but what came before? Development of communication takes three main stages. The most basic was oral communication that then opened the way for written communication and eventually, digital era communication. Whenever I want someone to do my work, I hire professionals who understand academic writing.
Oral Stages of Communication
Human beings must have been communicating using gestures and instincts at the beginning. The use of speech began in 500,000 BC. The ideas were not yet clear, but people in the ancient communities would still pass information. It is only up to 30,000 BC that speech developed. As societies began polishing their speech, new methods of communication emerged. It also created the need to pass more extended information.
Communication within the household and among neighbors did not elicit the need to pass more long information. Members of a family could converse and get immediate responses. Relaying a message from one city to the other or one ridge to the other became necessary, and a messenger had to evolve.
A person was appointed to shout the wishes of the king throughout the town. Such a person would also go on foot or ride animals to deliver information to another king or city. Communication relied solely on word of mouth. Writing had not evolved, and therefore, people relied on the memory of the messenger to deliver the information accurately.
History Of Writing
The earliest form of writing was found in Sumer in Mesopotamia and dates back to 3,400-3,300 BC. The other area where any writing developed independently in Mesoamerica and is traced back to 300 BC. Though the two regions are nearby, research indicates that writing developed independently. The writing discovered in Egypt in Dynasty in 3,100 BC and Xia Dynasty in 2000 BC is thought to have been influenced by Sumerians and therefore did not develop independently.
Interaction during trade led to the spread of knowledge about writing. It is necessary to distinguish between written symbols and messages. All civilizations drew images of animals, people, and the environment where they lived. Such is not writing for this discussion because there was no coded message. The writing was meant to store information and ensure consistency.
The earliest invention of writing for communication is Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta of Circa in 1800 BC, a Sumerian poem. It states that the king realized that the messenger could not repeat the message, so he put the message on clay. The history of writing cannot be attributed to one event or society.
Present-day writing took a quick turn in the Iron-Age. At around 1050 BC, the Aramaic and Greek alphabets emerged, and present-day writing and communication took shape. There was more interaction between kingdoms and societies. It led to the exchange and polishing of the writing culture. During the Middle-Age religion and conquering authorities spread writing to the parts of the world where they ruled. The renaissance age also witnessed expanded adoption of writing and writing materials. Languages were formalized, translations emerged, and the writing fever was catching up with the world.
Invention Of printing
Printing changed the communication platform drastically. Chinese are said to have invented printing in the 6th AD by printing the first book Diamond Sutra of 686. Europe invented the printing press in the 15th century, an invention by Johannes Gutenberg. Books were now cheaper, and the door was open for newspaper printing. In 1477, France established its postal services. England had to wait until 1512 to have a postal service.
Communication in the 19th and 20th Centuries
The fax machine entered the scene in 1843, and Graham Bell developed the telephone in 1876. Marconi sent the first radio signal across the Atlantic ocean in 1901 and communication changed forever. It opened the way for telephones and eventually mobile phones. The police, taxicabs, and railway trains were the pioneer users of mobile phones. The phones originally were used for voice communication. Ultimately, the writing was integrated and developed to the multipurpose mobile gadgets we have today.
The development of communication systems and gadgets is an overlapping process. The email had to wait for appropriate devices like computers to evolve. Ray Tomlinson is the brain behind the email. By 1960s, there was limited use of electronic mail. Electronic mail got widespread with the invention of computer networking in the 1970s. The concept of the email has not changed much from inception, but technological advancement and gadgets have made it easier to send messages.
Present Day Communication
The communication platform today is ruled by inventions, gadgets, and systems that allow instant messaging. The sender is also looking for certainty that his messege is delivered. The integration of different media formats like images, videos, and voice are also preferences when people are choosing communication devices. The demand for real-time communication is seen in live streaming that is dominating all communication platforms.
Question for students (and subscribers): When was the last time you wrote a paper letter? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Brooks, John. Telephone The First Hundred Years. New York: Harper & Row, 1976.
David Crowley, Paul Heyer. Communication in History: Technology, Culture, Society. New York: Taylor&Francis, 2003
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