Communication: How it Has Changed Over Time

Antique Phone

Telephones… Emails… Social media… The way we communicate has significantly changed over time. And no I don’t mean going from grunting to actually speaking; although if you have teenagers perhaps that could apply.

Giving Mixed Signals

Since the dawn of time, humans have found ways to communicate with each other. Whether this was using smoke signals, drawings or hand signs, each method had its own restrictions. These forms of communication were replaced when humans found the ability to communicate through sound, therefore leading to the creation of languages.

The more ‘simplistic’ methods of communication were very limited. A smoke signal couldn’t mean ‘help’, ‘it’s someone’s birthday’ and ‘someone’s died’, simply because the surrounding people wouldn’t know which message they were conveying. The last thing the people of the middle ages needed was people partying whilst they were under attack!

The ability to speak revolutionised communication, allowing messages to be sent with emotions were past the point of *insert angry grunt here*. 

Emotions allow us to express our feelings more clearly. In the jump from giving signals to speaking, people were more easily understood.

The Postal Service: The Pigeon Can Finally Retire

When The General Post Office was established in 1660, our methods of communication changed again. Letters had been used for thousands of years, but the postal service allowed citizens to send them to anywhere in the country. 

This was the first big push into getting more people to learn English.

“Can you connect me to line 58 please?”

The shift into digital communication started in 1876, with the invention of the telephone. Over the following decades, trust in new technology grew, and phones made their way into homes across the nation. By the 1930s, telephone communication was a standard practice used by the general public in their day-to-day lives.

The transition from letters to phone calls enabled people to express emotions  audibly.

The Modern Era: Tweet, Poke, Snap

Letters became emails, telephones became smartphones and newspapers became the internet over the last few decades, with technology evolving at an increased pace.

Smart phones don’t just let us call people from anywhere, but also email, text, direct message and a thousand other methods of communication. People can be accessed anytime of the day from pretty much anywhere. Socialising no longer has to be done at the local pub, it can be done from anywhere – come on get the pints in! 

As texting became more and more popular, the new ‘text language’ was created, essentially shortening words and phrases to easy-to-type abbreviations. Nowadays you’re more likely to read ‘lol’, than hear someone’s laugh. Next came emojis: the simplest way to express emotions digitally. Used by millions of users everyday, the little emoticons are loved by many.

Social Media: Love It or Hate It

Where we are today, communication is definitely a lot more difficult. Social media allows for people to live fake lives, and cover up their true feelings. We as humans naturally crave physical presence, even though we’re surrounded by people online, we often still feel isolated.

The platforms allow us to share opinions with others around the globe, giving people much wider insight into the lives of others. Being able to reach family and friends from afar is also always beneficial to people to help them feel connected.