The History of Communication   Leave a comment

The field of Communication originated with the Ancient Greeks.  Philosophers such as Socrates and Plato lectured their peers on the power of Rhetoric, and many embraced the study of effective speech with earnest.  Even today, people continue to use the same theories of rhetoric originally outlined by Socrates, often times unknowingly.  There have always been scholars that have written about the importance of understanding the ways that humans create meaning with one another; their scattered essays appear randomly through the 1900’s through the late 1930’s.  One such communication pioneer was Charles Cooley, who published the article, “Social Organization: A study of the larger mind” in 1909.

One of the most important developments to the study of Communication was the use of Propaganda in World War II.  Both the Military and the government were interested in learning more about the persuasive power of language, which helped to increase the number of Communication scholars.  With an increase of demand for Communication scholars, a subsequent demand for formal institutions to study Communications in grew as well.  The University of Chicago and Columbia were two of the first colleges to offer degrees in Communication Studies. 

The most influential development to the study of Communication was the rapid increase of new technologies.  Devices such as the word press and the radio had brought about radical changes in the way that humans communicated with one another.  However, these devices pale in comparison to the awesome affect that Television had on communication methods.  As the popularity of Television grew, scholars wanted to understand what kind of effects that the technology would have on the way that society communicated with one another. 

Today, the world is characterized by the blazing speed at which information is available.  In other words, this is the Age of Information.  The printing press, radio, and the television were all necessary developments to the success of the Internet.  Society has come to not only enjoy, but depend on the instantaneous exchange of information that would have previously seemed impossible only two decades ago.  Considering that society has placed a special emphasis on the rate at which we communicate, it is only logical to assume that there is also a special emphasis on understanding the way that we communicate.  For that reason alone, any academic pursuit in the field of Communication would be a valuable asset in this day and age. 

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Posted February 21, 2013 by Big Man in Capstone Reflections

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