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Electronic Communication and Society

Essay by   •  January 9, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,195 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,347 Views

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Electronic Communication and Society

In today's world, it is very difficult to go anywhere without seeing the impact that technology has had on societies everywhere. From homes to schools to the workplace, the impact of technology has been tremendous. Everything from appliances to machines, from phones to cars, everything has become and still is becoming more modernized in ways people would never have imagined ten years ago. The same can be said for computers and communication technology. Currently, it is very rare to find someone that does not have a cellular phone or a computer. Cell phones have become a standard for people of all ages. From school-aged children to the elderly, almost everyone owns one. In the same sense, just about every household has a computer and some even have two or more. In fact, they have become so common that the more surprising statistic is the number of people who do not own one. Along with computers comes e-mail. It seems like e-mail and other forms of electronic communication have basically taken over. It is as though nearly everyone uses this type of communication in school or at home or work.

With the progress of computers and the internet, more and more people have become introduced to e-mail and instant messaging systems, though instant messaging is mainly used by the younger generations. "E-mail is fast, inexpensive, manageable, easy to use, and uniquely personal. It is already established as an important communications tool, often surpassing the telephone for many forms of business and personal interaction"(Roberts 4). These reasons probably explain why it is so popular among people today. The thing even more remarkable than how popular the internet has become would have to be the speed at which it did it. It has caught on faster than any other form of technology including television and radio. "Willy Gissen, an account supervisor at Levin Public Relations in White Plains, New York, observes that it took radio forty years to reach fifty million users. Television took thirteen years to reach fifty million users. The internet did it in four years"(Roberts 8). The strange thing about its popularity is that no one ever saw it coming. "Oddly enough, no one planned it, and no one predicted it. When research scientists first began cooking up the internet's predecessor the Arpanet, in 1968, their primary goal was to enable disparate computing centers to share resources"(Leonard 241). Little did they know, they would be creating a worldwide phenomenon. "The scope of the phenomenon is mind-boggling. Worldwide, 225 million people can send and receive e-mail. Forget about the web or e-commerce or even online pornography: e-mail is the internet's true killer-app--the software application that we simply must have, even if it means buying a two thousand dollar computer and plunking down twenty dollars a month to America Online"(Leonard 241).

People find all sorts of different reasons to use e-mail. It could just be a conversation with a friend or family member, a chain letter from someone they know, or just to keep in touch with someone who lives away; the possibilities are seemingly endless. "Electronic communication has had a significant impact on my life. I am available to students, my boss, and my peers twenty four, seven, which can be stressful"(Lindsey). It is so convenient to go to a computer and have access to almost everyone you know at any given moment with e-mail or instant messaging. You are able to have many conversations at once either instantly or at a convenient time. That is another thing that makes these types of communication so great--if you don't have time to talk on the phone or in person for whatever reason, that person can send you an e-mail if they want and you can read it or get back to them when you have the chance.

The development of e-mail has made it much easier for friends and family separated by a long distance to keep in contact. Now people don't have to worry about long distance charges. People can have short conversations with one another that they would not have had otherwise due to long distance costs. "Family and friends who live at a distance are now in touch with one another much more frequently and easily"(Riney).

Not only is e-mail important for communication at home, it is also used in school. Currently colleges set up e-mail accounts for every one of their students as well as faculty. Important messages about events or class scheduling are often sent by e-mail rather than paper mail. This makes it much easier because the university does not have to print copies and then have someone to address them and send them out. They can send it to every one with just a few button clicks. Students also use this e-mail as their personal e-mail address. They give it out to friends and family and receive everything through this account. They may also use it to communicate with classmates about assignments or to contact an instructor. It has made it much easier to ask a professor a question because you don't have to worry about catching them in the office. It also makes it easier on the teacher because they don't have to stay in their offices quite so much, but as a result they have more work to do when they are at home. "If we didn't have electronic communications, I think I could leave work at the office more easily. Of course, I would have to stay at the office more to get things done too"(Lindsey). With many classes being online, any questions from people in these classes will all come from e-mails. "Some of the classes I teach at WKU are one hundred percent online which means that the people in them never meet in a face to face setting"(Lindsey). Most of these courses also require students to send assignments in electronically.

Along with e-mail in the home and at school, it can also be found very useful in the workplace. Businesses are no longer confined to specific areas. If people are working together on something in a large office building they could be on separate floors or in different wings and still collaborate because of e-mail. If someone has a question for a fellow co-worker they no longer have to run around the building hunting someone down or waiting for them to get done with other business. They can send an e-mail without having to leave their own office and the other person can get back when they have a chance. People can also work on projects together from opposite sides of the world:

While writing the paper, over a period of three to four weeks, the two co-authors did not meet face-to-face and all their communication was mediated by technology. They both had access to a sophisticated word processor, and used their international computer



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