Old or New communication? (Week 1)

NB:// When referring to ‘society,’ that is Western Civilisation. Other societies will be clarified.

Society today revolves around our connections and use of technologies available to us. This is a fact. In the twenty-first century we rely on technology to do commonplace tasks more than ever before in history. Is this natural progression? Or are we lazy and choose not to engage our brains as much? But not only are we moving away from “manual” calculations and work, but also moving away from older communication technologies as we progress and develop. So it becomes apparent to ask the question of how do we distinguish between old and new communication technologies?

The adjective “old” describes something that was made or built long ago, belonging to the past and showing the signs of age. However, this does not make an old technology extinct or insignificant. The problem is that as technology advances, the previous forms become less efficient and less capable. But they deserve credit, right? Because for each thing that is created an improved on, the original still paved a way forward and without that development each new development would not happen. An example of an old communication technology would be the fax machine. Some would say that the fax machine is still as useful as ever, but it too has been replaced by something that does the job quicker and easier. Consider and compare the process of using a fax machine to the ease of using a scanner to send an email. So today we would say that a fax machine is “old technology.” But it still works, exists and is as simple as ever, s how can this be? Perhaps it is our boredom and impatience that causes us to disregard something like the fax machine now that there are newer more effective technologies.

The next question that must be asked is under what circumstances will new communication technology become old? The answer is apparent by comparing what we have and what we use to what we used to have. A communication technology will become old when new and innovative creations are more useful and popular than their predecessors. In terms of research and learning, books are becoming obsolete, as are the libraries that house them. The internet has revolutionised the way humans communicate and learn but is it really more beneficial than books and when will it too become old? It is also important to consider the “digital divide” and its implications. The “digital divide” is the split between cultures that have access to digital technologies and those that don’t (Friedman 2005). However, the phrase does not accurately describe the nature of the issue. It focuses on the having and not-having of technology, when realistically what matters is the ability to benefit from technology. Are we as a society really benefitting or sliding backwards towards illiteracy and ignorance?

Catch you later cats and kittens,

Anneleise xx


Friedman, P.K. 2005, Communication Technologies New and Old, viewed 10 August 2012, < http://savageminds.org/2005/11/09/communication-technologies-old-and-new/&gt;


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