The evolution of communication
The digital era and its model
In contemporary society, it is undeniable how Digital technologies influence every moment of life. The gradual transformation from an industrial to a digital era has irrevocably altered the pages of history with substantial – some might say dramatic – implications for our society.
From the large number of fields that such revolution has affected, communication is definitely the one that has undergone the most important transformation. With the advent of digital technology, new ways and means of communication sprouted across society. While there is still not a univocal position over the exact date of birth of the digital age, there is an absolute and undeniable certainty over its exponential amplification with the surface of Internet. The rise of Internet and social media has brought about a further change to the communication and meaning-making process. Senders and receivers, previously specifically defined, are now decentralized and almost borderless. One concrete example is social media that, with their controversial democratic nature (at least at the beginning!), allow (almost) everyone to be on one side and the other as targets of specific messages and creators of such cues.
Further, contrary to the linear communication strategy adopted before the digital revolution where the sender had direct control over the message sent to the person concerned and its reception, a new model of cultural communication had emerged. Based on the great multiplication of communicating processes, it has both its pros and cons. If it is true that the creation of new communication channels allowed for more accessibility and quickness in sending and receiving messages, it is also true that it brought relative loss of control for the sender, misinterpretation of messages, and a spread of misinformation altogether. On these premises, posing more attention on how the initial message is produced rather than transmitted is crucial, and a challenge we must all accept.
Another aspect of digitalisation in the field of communication is the evolution of mass medias. What we are living through is an era of communicative convergences among several means and platforms. Previously, all platforms were either written or analogical, them being strictly separated. With the development of a liquid communication system, it is now possible to make use of, or rather exploit, multiple platforms and medias simultaneously. The trick is to do so correctly! Based on the ‘minimum expenditure, maximum yield’ principle, the convergence of mass medias can thus be analysed as the interaction between the sender’s vision, the industry that controls the distribution of the created message that sells and tells the products and the response of the audience.
In conclusion, the digital revolution brought new means and medias to the fore. Contrary to the past where the primary focus relied on linear communication, our current ‘liquid society’ survives and thrives on an antithetical model. Not only is the digital and technological integration in all public and private spheres crucial for our survival, but we have reached the point where a digital strategy must be necessarily implemented if an efficient communication is foreseen. This does not mean that this new way of communicating is without risks. Quite the contrary indeed. For instance, while communication opportunities have been implemented and facilitated, the flip side of the coin shows that those who do not integrate into the new world of communication are completely cut off. This and many other of the serious negative implications of digitalization in communication must be first identified and eventually brought to national and international tables where an encompassing alliance of stakeholders – businesses, academics, policymakers, experts, supranational organizations, and Civil Society – is able to overcome them. Only in this way can the advantages of the Digital Revolution, including accessibility, effectiveness, and equality, be guaranteed to all.
Campbell, R., Martin, C. R., Fabos, B., & Becker, R. (2022). Media & Culture: Mass Communication in a Digital age. Bedford/St. Martin's.
Lathi, B. P., & Ding, Z. (2022). Modern digital and Analog Communication Systems. Oxford University Press.
Yates, S., & Rice, R. E. (2020). The Oxford Handbook of Digital Technology and Society. Oxford University Press.