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Communication and Society - Essay Example

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Question 1 According to James Carey, "communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired and transformed." Two important dimensions characterize this statement. The first of which is the confirmation of the long established norm that communication is a symbolic process, wherein thoughts, ideas, emotions and reality itself are expressed through symbolic forms…
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Download file to see previous pages Crucial to these claims is the position that communication could refer to the most common and the most mundane. This is Carey's way of using the cultural approach to defining and explaining what communication is. This is the case in the sense that human daily activities collectively constitute the meanings and the reality that we perceive. The Mobile Texting Phenomenon To demonstrate Carey’s position, there is the case of the use of short messaging system (SMS) in mobile phones. If one examines how people communicate through this platform closely, one will find a uniquely different lexicon employed. "How are you?" becomes "hw r u?" or "You are late." becomes "u r l8". Words are radically shortened by redacting words or substituting figures to represent sounds in order to accommodate the restrictions posed by the messaging service. Cell phones usually allow only 160 characters per message. According to Lindholm, Keinonen and Kiljander (2003), “in advanced phone markets, as in Scandinavia, Germany, or the Philippines, a whole new culture has been born around text messages as a response to the limitations 160 characters impose.” (p115) This is in addition to other variables like the way the messaging application and interface are designed and the way people interact with it. An excellent example to demonstrate the above points is the use of the so-called "emoticons", symbols that convey emotions. For instance, there is the case of the smiley, :-) an emoticon used to express how pleased one is, or an agreement or a greeting depending on the context of the conversation. The resulting communication process and symbols start to create a reality for people that eventually form collectivities that emerge as social, cultural, and even political forces and even institutions. The severely shortened language, for one, has triggered an attitude among people today to prefer simple, fast and mobile way of doing things. Blogs or online journals became popular way back but it never achieved the degree of wide usage that Twitter has achieved today. Dubbed as a micro blogging platform, Twitter lets users use its service to publish details about people's daily lives in short, concise and uncomplicated manner, not unlike the way people would "SMS" or "text" others. This is in contrast to the way users are required to publish elaborate and detailed messages in traditional blogs like Blogger or Wordpress. The implication of this development in the context of communication and the manner by which it could shape reality is the way it affects behaviors. People become increasingly impatient with details and this is reflected in the way they conduct their affairs and what they expect from their interactions with others. The significance of the SMS phenomenon can also be described from a critical point of view. For example, Patajo-Legasto (2010) argued that mobile phones stifle literacy and young people’s ability to communicate in the real world in real time by “wrecking havoc on spelling and grammar, and its erosion, in tandem with mindless computer games and Internet chat rooms.” (p410) Several other problems and criticisms were outlined. For instance, Clark and Brody stated: Part of the anxiety surrounding texting arises from its perceived tendency to disrupt protocols of recognition and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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