Can you imagine living in the 1960s? Where there were no iPhones, Blackberrys, macs and desktops? Technology has made communication so convenient for us and I think without it, more than a hand full of us might go a little crazy. Technology in communication is defined as a medium through which information is transmitted between communicating parties. As advanced as technology is, there are still some constraints in communication such as time, distance in terms of coverage or reception, speed when it comes to the rate of information being transmitted, bandwidth, which is the amount of information being transmitted and synchronous which is interactivity.
Technological diffusion, which is referred to the rate at which technology is adopted by society is influenced by cost-benefit tradeoffs and functionality. We have witnessed how technology has evolved over the past few decades. Back in primary school, the trendy gadget to have was a disc-man, which has now been replaced with an itouch or ipod. This therefore demonstrates substitution in technological diffusion. Substitutes refers to the ability of one product to replace another, especially in terms of providing cost or performance advantage. Complements, on the other hand is another aspect of technological diffusion when an existing technology is combined with something else enhances the utility of both products such as the internet being accessible through the use of computers.
Facebook has taken the world by storm with a database of 800 million active users. It is evident that convergence was one of the key elements in making Facebook such a successful project. Convergence is the movement of communication technology toward common digital formats that allow for the interoperability between distinct services and applications. With Facebook, one can chats with users who are online, share videos, voice notes and data such as pictures. People in the world are no longer not left with only one form of communication, which is the telephone. Computer mediated communication is what holds us together and what keeps us in touch with one another. One might ask, what is computer mediated communication? It is defined as any form of communication using computers and computer networks, which includes e-mails, electronic conferences, newsgroups and web chats. It also allows access and interaction between people and databases all over the world.
Facebook has almost every single characteristic of computer mediated communication. Firstly, a computer is used as a medium (although now Facebook can be accessed through smart phones and ipads). Facebook has evolved from previous programs like MSN or ICQ where it was fully text-based where communicators express themselves through words, smileys and emoticons. It takes place on a virtual platform with no limitations when it comes to time zones or physical spaces. With Facebook, information can be accessed quickly at a click of a button. Skype, has also been successful in introducing face time. It makes communication effective as it can be one-to-one, one-to-many or many-to-many.
It is for a fact, that computer mediated communication has invaded almost every facet of human activities. Without Skype or Facebook, how expensive would it be to make collect calls to our friends and family overseas? With technology being so advanced, now not only can we talk to our loved ones who are miles away, better yet we can see them on our screens just as if we’re face to face! Being in the know of what your friends are up to by reading twitter posts, blog posts or Facebook statuses, we no longer have to try and phrase awkward questions in our heads in trying to pry information about who’s dating who and conversation topics.