Medium of communication
The world wide web facilitated the exchange of information and ideas among organizations, governments and private citizens. Slowly, the internet as a source of information and as a medium of communication began to have its own standards or formats to establish a more orderly and rational use of the system. In fact, due to the expectation that the internet will create some sort of a global culture by virtue of its global usage, academics have begun using the term internet culture.
Underwood (2002) argues that “Internet culture, definable as a society’s shared set of norms and practices as they relate to the Internet, develops as an extension of social, political, and economic values”. (p. 1) The internet both as a medium for both personal and business communication underwent more innovations in the decade that followed. Instead of relying on the postal system where letters mailed to an address on the other side of the globe took days to arrive, e-mail only took a few clicks of the mouse and a few seconds before it is delivered to another pc wherever in the world.
As a communication tool, its versatility took the entire business world by storm. Executives no longer issued downward or upward communication through sheets of paper distributed among employees. For as long as an employee is given a pc terminal and an address, he or she is able to read the communication instantly. Anderson et al. , (1995) claim that “to those on-line, e-mail provides a general often substantial increase in effectiveness, productivity, and access to relevant information. (p. iii).
Columbia Encyclopedia asserts that “the most popular features of the Internet include electronic mail (e-mail), discussion groups (called newsgroups or bulletin boards, where users can post messages and look for responses on a system called Usenet), on-line conversations (called chats), adventure and role-playing games, information retrieval, and electronic commerce. (“Internet, The”) These features of the internet made possible the outsourcing of business processes by many multi-national corporations who seek cheaper labor in developing countries.
As Bernett, Masi, and Fischer (2002) observed “Web collaboration is a key capability of providing on-line customer service” where “with text chat and Internet telephony, an agent can actively push Web pages to the caller; with some products the caller also can push Web pages to the agent”. At present, workers in the same company no longer need to pick the phone in order to get in touch with a fellow worker. Chatting and instant messaging have replaced the phone as a standard means of communication. While companies in the previous decade advocated teleconferencing, contemporary companies now use videoconferencing.
The most successful videoconferencing users find that strategic benefits represent an even better return on the investment: projects take less time to complete, product quality is improved and dispersed teams operate more efficiently and at lower cost. (Idelson, 1997) Conclusion A thorough review of the different communication technologies in the last five decades show that every advancement in communication and information technology was a response to the ever-increasing demand of the modern workplace for speed and efficiency.
The Dictaphone was designed to eliminate the tediousness and errors of dictation. The answering machine relieved the office assistant from attending to the office telephone the whole day and the photocopier enabled companies to reproduce documents at a short notice. The fax machine eliminated the use of couriers and the postal system in transmitting documents to offices in remote locations. The common denominator in the invention of these business communication tools is the need not only for speed and efficiency but also for accuracy.
The portability of data though the use of electronic storage systems that had its beginnings in the floppy disk enabled companies to secure and transfer data from one computer to another. From the portability of data arose the idea of the portability of the entire office through the computer laptop. In all these remarkable innovations, the efficiency of the business enterprise was the overriding goal to the extent that the private life of the office worker became vulnerable to disruptions by the omnipresent tentacle of management that goes by the buzzword of connectivity.
Thus, while modern communication tools were readily adopted by business entities in view of the benefits they offered in terms of efficiency and productivity, private individuals were more astute in acquiring these gadgets. When individuals do not see how their private lives could be enhanced by the new technological too, they are not likely to purchase and use it. As Morrison and Svennevig (2001)claimed, technology is incorporated into peoples’ lives on the pragmatic basis of its utility.
On this basis it is the world of work rather than the home where new communications technology will make its entry and sustain itself as a transformation force. (p. 134) In fact, over-stressed corporate executives are beginning to regard their “connectivity” to their offices as an intrusion to their private lives. Until the business world comes up with an accepted set of a code of ethics regulating the use of these modern gadgets to the prejudice of the private lives, employees can only wait for the next technological tool that might address this problem.
All about pagers. (n. d. ) Retrieved on April 29, 2007 from http://ligon. wcpss. net/dept/tech/studentprojects/pagers/pagers. htm Anderson, R. H. , Bikson, T. K. , Law, S. A. , Mitchell, B. M. , Kedzie, C. , Keltner, B. , et al. (1995). Universal access to e-mail: Feasibility and societal implications [Electronic Version]. Santa Monica, CA: Rand. Retrieved May 2, 2007, from http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=91151632