Theologically, once upon a time, the earth was void and without form. Then out of strings of words articulated, the earth grew form and came alive.
The start of communication can be dated as far back as the start of the earth. Someone “said” and a “response” was given. If there had been no start of the exchange, there would have been no return of any message. This is to say that, it is not a successful communication if there is only one person involved.
And if there is more than one person, it’s only called communication if one person initiates a form of interaction with the other person(s). Whether in verbal form, written or non-verbal forms – e-mails, letters, phone-call, voice mail, use of facial expressions, body language, posture, tone of voice, touch, media channels, etc
How We Used to Handle Communication
There was a time when direct communication (face-to-face) was the only instant form of transferring information across to a person. If you needed something from the boy next door, you would have had to climb down your bed, walk across to the bedroom door, shuffle your feet around the door to fit it into slippers at the corner.
Then you’d have had to exit the house, trot over to the neighbor’s house, and knock on his front door. This is assuming doors were a thing then.
Mostly you may have had to yell what you wanted from the entrance of the house, so he’d hear you wherever he was inside the house, and come along with whatever it was that you needed. This way he didn’t have to go twice. Like come to the front door, ask what you wanted, then go back into the house to get it.
Give or take, this could happen in about 5 – 7mins, to “travel” from one end and return from door-to-door message delivery and receipt.
Carrier pigeons would have messed things up since it’s an extremely short distance. But where it’s a farther place, then there you go. Though you may have had to shorten your words like you’d have done with the telegram, if you were to engage a carrier pigeon. Because you’d have had to strap the message-note in a special lightweight case to the pigeon’s leg.
And since this case is a sealed metal canister on the leg of a pigeon, you wouldn’t select a bigger paper so as not to weigh down the pigeon.
If you’re thinking, well I could have just used the town crier if it was back in those times. The town crier then was strictly for official government announcements. And for a fact, personal problems are not government problems if you’re not the government.
Evolution of Communication
Luckily, communication evolved just as the rest of life did in technological advancements. Getting a donkey, carriage, or employing a rider on a horse to transport letters/messages to another person, city, or cross country became less and less of a thing.
Think about it, the average speed for a horse-drawn carriage is what the horse will travel at a walk. Their standard speed is barely faster than a walk. That should be near 5km/h, 8km/h at most.
Without a cart, as said here, the average speed a horse gallop is approximately 48km/h.
For you to get a better idea, here’s how it appears. If you were to be walking briskly you could travel 3 – 4km/hr, almost the same as the horse carriage. This is about 15-20 mins for a km. (Google map assumes 5km in an hour for a brisk walk but that’s not average. More likely for a pretty fast walker so google says).
Now to visualize the concept of distances, it takes 1300 – 1500 walking steps to cover 1km.
Imagine having an important message and you needed to engage the expertise of the courier service of that time.
If that seems like a stretch, and you owned a stable, or you got resources enough to get a horse to ride through, you could travel about 11 – 13times the distance covered by the horse carriage in an hr. This is almost 2 mins for 1km unlike the former 15-20mins time frame. But even that isn’t like a major coverage if you were thinking cross country message communication.
Besides, it is said that horses can either walk for a long time slowly or they can run quite fast for a short time but not both. So you’d still lose some steam with the distance covered.
All that to get information across from point A to point B.
And then guess what…
People didn’t have to do all that anymore. The need to quicken the rate at which information or messages were being received and acted upon, became paramount. And successful.
Then there was no need to walk places to send messages, and horses didn’t need to trot through cities to deliver a messenger. Because by 1876 the telephone was discovered. Since then, over centuries, it has constantly been tweaked in models and versions of improvements into the cellphones we use today.
What Happened with Phone-Calls for Communication
The phone call, via the cellphone, happens to be one of the top 5 most common forms of communication. A verbal mode of communication is a two-way street as we know. But since the advent of social media, it is becoming outmoded. Slowly creeping towards being one of the least effective ways of communication in the 21st century.
The thoughts behind giving phone calls are clear, simple, and numerous. At the physical absence of a person, they are used to establish a lost connection, to build romantic/non-romantic relationships, to give or receive instructions, to share a quick gossip (or long), even a not-so-subtle way of cheating during examinations, etc. But the top of the list would be to foster verbal communication.
But foster verbal communication is what we’re doing less and less, because chatting and texting have taken precedence. Is technology the problem?