The first telephone was patented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell, but 1915 was when the first long-distance, coast-to-coast phone call took place. It took a while for the telephone to become popular, and affordable in the average household. But it revolutionized communication. The trouble with international calls was the cost, so most people stuck to letters. These days though, cheaper international rates mean people can call internationally without breaking the budget. Plans like EnjoyPrepaid bring rates down even more, making international businesses easier to run, and communicating with friends and family in foreign countries easier.
Despite it now being primarily a form of entertainment, the television does come under communication technology. Technology-wise it was a major development, and trumped to radio in that you could see and hear the news. In the early days of TV, it was only turned on once a day in most households to watch the evening news - for major bulletins and political announcements, several families would crowd into one house because not everyone had a TV.
The first email was sent at MIT in 1965, a major milestone in computer networking. Computers being able to communicate with each other opened up a world of potential for communication. Eventually leading to the invention of the internet, which even today uses standard phone lines to send data as sound, which is converted by a modem (MODulation and DEModulation). Fiber optic internet is fast gaining popularity, as data is sent in the form of light, making it much faster.
Early cell phones were bulky, basic, had limited battery and often couldn’t get signal, but the concept of a mobile phone was a revolutionary one. Just over twenty years later, mobile phones have become commonplace, and smartphones are quickly taking over. Cell towers litter most cities, and not having cell signal is a foreign concept to many users. 3G, 4G and wifi put the internet in the palm of our hand, and more than likely, over the next few decades, we’ll never be without a wifi signal.
MySpace being the ‘original’ social network, we now have Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and many others. This is quite possibly the ultimate when it comes to communication, you can upload thoughts, images and videos from almost anywhere. It’s also where the term global village really comes to life. Social networks allow us to be in touch with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Constant updates tell us where people are and what they’re doing - an enormous privacy risk - and often times gives us the sense, or reality, of knowing someone we’ve never met face to face.
Being able to communicate as and when we like is something a lot of us take for granted, and something we wouldn’t have had as little as 50 years ago. Unfortunately, as communication technology has improved our ability to communicate seems to have lessened. Most teens texting is primarily emojis, rather than actual words. The emoji is one of the more modern introductions, but looked at a certain way, it could easily be considered the smartphone equivalent of a cave painting.
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