- Define communication;
- ldentify types of communication;
- Mention traditional and modern forms of communication;
- State the importance of communication;
- Differentiate between transportation and Communication.
Lesson Discussions / Summary
Meaning of Communication
Communication can be defined as the process of transmitting information from one person, or group of people to another. In communication, there is a sender, a message and a receiver who can be one person or group of people. When we are in contact with people we know, we often say we are communicating. Our daily activities and actions involve communication. We exchange ideas and information by communicating. Communication can be regarded as the first human activity testifying to the importance of the social environment to every human being. There have been reported cases of people going mad or seriously hurt when put in solitary confinement. Solitary confinement is when a person is put in a place all alone and prevented from talking to others or contacting other people.
Differences between Transport and Communication
Communication is sometimes seen as being dependent on transport, and transportation and communication as being the same thing. The use of writing to send messages made communication to depend on transport. Thus, the development of transport has had a great effect on communication. Written messages were preserved and letters reached every part of the world.
All forms of transport, whether on land, air or water, are sometimes referred to as lines of communication. Therefore, to consider any form of transport as communication is not entirely wrong. There is, however, a clear distinction between transport and communication. When we talk of transport, we mean the physical carriage of goods and people from one place to another. Communication, on the other hand, only involves the transmission of words and messages through interpersonal contact, radio, television, the Internet and letters, and through traditional methods such as the use of the gong, drum and towncrier.
Communication does not necessarily imply the physical relocation of goods
and services as in fleight transportation. With modern technology, the flow of information may not consider the factor of distance. However, communication
always precedes the technologies that they come to use. With the advent of the Internet, the cost of communicating has significantly reduced. Today data and
information transfer is very instantaneous. We are gradually seeing that telecommunication does not depend on distance.
Types of communication
Communication can be classified into traditional and modern types.
1. Traditional Communication: In traditional types of communication, we have direct communication by way of mouth, the use of drums, flutes and gongs. The history of people and the basis of their culture were transmitted from one generation to another essentially by way of mouth. The various adaptations to the environment were communicated by way of mouth. This implies direct face-to-face interaction and through imitation, instruction and examples, specialised behaviours are acquired.
In the traditional African setting the drum and the gong have been used to convey messages of war, death and the installation of a King or Chief, wedding, initiation rituals and even strange happenings. In traditional African society smoke signals were used as a sign of conquest or success in war. Even up to this day, the Roman Catholic Church uses the smoke signal when electing a new Pope. During the election of a new Pope, whenever the white smoke is seen coming out of the special chimney dedicated for that purpose, a Pope has been successfully elected and when it is black smoke, it is an indication that a Pope has not been elected.
Modern communication types consist of the postal system, newspaper, radio, telephone, the Internet, fax, telegraphic messages among others.
Types of Modern Communication
A. Telecommunications: Telecommunications refer to communicating with the aid of electrical or electronic transmission devices. These devices help in transmitting messages over long distances and they include telephone, fax, the Internet, radio, cellular telephone, telegraph/telegrams and the telex. The telegraph was the
first modern type of communication used to send messages. Telecommunications enable people to communicate with one another around the world and to access information.
Telecommunications help in
the linking of remote areas.The
process of telecommunication involves the originator (or sender) of the message and one or more recipients. Both the sender and the recipient are linked together by one or more of the devices used for telecommunications, such as the
telephone, the Internet, fax, and so on.
In telecommunications, electrical signals can either be carricd over the air, in this case as radio waves, or travel along copper wire or even along fibre optic cables. It is usually the receiving device that converts the signals to a readable or understandable message. Telecommunication messages can
either be sent from one sender to a single receiver, and it is often termed
person-to-person communication, or from one sender to many receivers
(person-to-area). In a person-to-person or personal discussion using the telephone or fax, the discussion usually involves two persons. But in a person-to-area telecommunication, It is usually termed a broadcast (mass
communication). Mass communication is simply the formal and structured transmission of information in a one-way basis, that is the flow of information from a source to an area. It is important to note that personal communication between individuals is as old as mankind. The increase in the intensity and complexity of communication depends on the level of the technological advance and the interest of the individual.
B. The Internet
The emergence of the Internet has revolutionised the communications
sector. The Internet and communication satellites have made personal and mass communication immediate and data transters instantaneous. The Internet is a computer-based global intormation system that is composed of several interconnected networks. A network may connect several hundreds of thousands of computers at a time, thus enabling the sharing and dissemination of information. The Internet or the satellite can receive and send radio, telephone and television signals to any part of the globe.
Communication satellites operate in three different ways: transmission
stations on the ground send signals to the satellites that are in space by
means of antennae. These signals are sent back to earth and they are picked
by receivers all over the world. It is these communication satellites that make it easy for us to see what is happening in other regions of the world the very moment it happens. It is with these communication satellites that we are able to track the movement of migratory birds, dangerous thunderstorms and
other natural disaster.
The Internet is one very important tool that is making it possible for people to share information and ideas on a daily basis with relative ease and at minimal cost. Distance is not a barrier when communicating on the Internet. Today, in Nigeria for instance, there is an increasing use of Internet online facilities in the registration of exams such as Joint Admission and Matriculation Board JAMB), the Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE), the National Examination Council (NECO) exams and a host of other professional exams and results of these exams can be checked online.
The advantages of the Internet as a means of communication cannot be
overemphasised. One unique advantage the Internet has over other means of communication is that it does not have centralised distribution centres for controls and editing as the case may be. Communication on the Internet is on the basis of direct access to one another.
C. Mass Media
When communication is shared with many people in many places with the
aid of a machine we refer to it as mass communication. The mass media
address their messages by print, radio or television to receivers within a defined territory. The use of, or the dominance of, any type of mass media depends on the technology available and the literacy level of those receiving the information. Newspapers circulated in Nigeria and the broadcast media are all referred to as mass media. The word media is the plural for medium, which is means. The radio and newspapers circulate news and information to millions of people in Nigeria. The development of the mass media means many more people are now informed about the environment in which they live. People are now receiving instructions on television leading to the award of a university degree. The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) uses the television and other mass media to pass instructions to its registered students scattered all over the country.
Role of Communication Systems in Nigeria
Communication facilities play many significant roles in the socio-economic, political and technological development of a country. Mass communication in Nigeria has done well in educating the populace on general government policies and programmes. This is the more reason why the Federal Government of Nigeria has paid particular attention to telecommunication development. This resulted in the successtul deregulation of the telecommunications sector with the investment by private organisations into the GSM market in Nigeria. The deregulation of the telecommunications sector in Nigeria has brought about more effective
competition leading to the decline in current tariffs, improvement in the quality and range of services offered, opening of the sector to foreign direct investment, creation of job opportunities and other benefits. The role can then be summarized as follows:
The role of communication systems in Nigeria include:
- Rapid delivery of messages between people and communities in order to
- facilitate economic development.
- Informing the people on programmes and policies of government, especially the rural dwellers.
- Educating the people on happenings all over the world, and making people
- learn new ways and methods of doing things.
- Disseminating information to many people at the same time.
- Storing information for future use and retrieval.
- Acting as enlightenment tools.
Lesson Evaluation / Test
- What is communication?
- Differentiate between communication and transport.
- Mention two types of communication and give three examples of each.
- What are the differences between mass communication and telecommunications?
- Enumerate the importance of communication to your society.
Questions answered correctly? Bravo! Do stay connected for more educational contents
Image credit: 123RF.com