Basic Communication

I have spent the last two weeks of my life enveloped in a bubble of technological ignorance as day by day my brain seems to have edged further and further away from what I used to consider was a basic understanding of the internet.

So it was with huge relief I came across one particular note I had made that seemed to put everything into perspective, it read, “basic communication hasn’t changed – technological innovation has.”

Basic communication – what a blissful life our ancestors must have had. Engraving symbols on cave walls and grunting to one another before running off with spears. 

So how much have we actually advanced since the early homo sapien days? 

Take a look at these defintions; Twitter “is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected”  and Flickr, “Flickr is a way to get your photos and videos to the people who matter to you.” What about social bookmarking? It “stores websites and pages that you have found and want to refer to later, and also to refer them to others that you think might benefit from them or just enjoy visiting them.”

And the old homo sapiens? They used communication for – fundamentally – all of the above. 

Their cave wall paintings and beginnings of language were used to transfer messages to fellow cavemen, friends and family, and strangers who might dwell in that particular cave in the future. Predominantly thought to be symbolic survival messages these very ‘basic’ forms of communication were, nevertheless, remarkably similar to those which most of us rely on in the 21st Century.

Thinkquest offered this definition of cave paintings: “Some people believe that the people who lived in caves just wanted to decorate their walls, as we do today. Others believe that the cave paintings sometimes sent messages to other people passing through or living in the cave in the future.” Sounds familiar.

The internet is becoming an increasingly personal space despite its vastness. The ability to communicate with millions of people worldwide can surely be seen as being an intensely amplified adaptation of caveman communication methods, using visionary and sensory skills to communicate just as our ancestors did.

So could we say the acceleration of Web 2.0 is merely evidence of our natural and most basic instinct to communicate? Is it mere coincidence Facebook allows us to write on one another’s walls? Or draw on them?  I mean – spot the difference: http://www.flickr.com/photos/debbieohi/644309258/  – http://www.culture.gouv.fr:80/culture/arcnat/lascaux/en/.

I then got to thinking about the idea of transparency in the media. Online news facilities are all intended to deliver news as it happens in whatever form it is best suited. Journalists are required to reach a level of immediacy in delivering news that allows the viewer or reader to feel they are really ‘in the story’ and not in fact watching an edited version of it.

Again this is surely a very basic communicative idea that is being monopolised through huge technological advances. Before television and print journalism took hold ‘news’ occurred when people saw it and experienced it first hand. In theory the internet is allowing people to do just that but on a much larger scale. Takedipity for example – the Birmingham Post has used the advanced timeline creating to tool to make an extreme difference to reporting platforms. It appears the online journalism world is doing everything it can to get people as close as possible to the news as it happens. 

The world wide web and online journalism industry is therefore, in essence, merely a development of one of the most basic and essential skills to have been employed by humankind throughout time. With this in mind I think we could all agree that this innate desire to communicate and share thoughts will continue to inform and shape the internet’s advances in the future and therefore the future of online journalism and worldwide communication.

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