Communication

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Communication means the exchange of ideas with a community, and as such can include both technical topics like telecommunication and societal issues like mass media. Several scientific journals have this word in their title, for example Communications of the ACM.


We can treat Communication like a language and a subject unto itself, or as the name of a field of study.

"Communication" implies two different, and sometimes conflicting, things. On one hand, it means to have a thoughtful exchange of views with a small number of people, perhaps just one. But it can also mean to disseminate broadly a simple message, without deep thought or appeals for feedback. The Latin root is "communicare" and means "to make common."

Communication as a field of study is relatively new. Arguably, it encompasses journalism, public relations, media studies (which might include the study of television, radio, and film), and rhetoric, among other fields.

In a more technical sense, see also telegraphy, telephone, computer network.

We might divide these diverse fields into those which cultivate a thoughtful exchange between a small number of people (debate, talk radio, e-mail, personal letters) on the one hand; and those which disseminate broadly a simple message (public relations, television, Hollywood films.)

Under communication one might also classify the postal system.


Overview

  • Definitions of communication
  • Overview of debate: what is and isn't communication?

Communication Models

  • encoding, sending and receiving messages
  • symbols, language
  • verbal, nonverbal

Communication Technology

  • general overview of changes and advances
  • effects of communication technology on culture and society
  • systems of communication

The Study of Communication

  • historical sketch
  • important people, theories

What are our priorities for writing in this area? To help develop a list of the most basic topics in Communication, please see Communication basic topics.