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communication technologies


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1. Equipment (and associated techniques) directly used to enable interpersonal communication (both synchronous and asynchronous); and/or the mass media. This is not quite synonymous with ‘the means of communication’ or even ‘the media of communication’. The term ‘communication technology’ excludes language in general or speech in particular (even though in some contexts either may be referred to as a medium), since these are not construed as technologies (see also phonocentrism). However, the term does include technologies enabling mediated speech communication (such as the telephone). It technically incorporates writing, since that involves the use of tools, and the means by which writing is circulated (such as books—even prior to printing). However, for literate people, writing has become such a transparent medium that few are aware of it as a technology. The term can also include the media utilized in visual communication (though once again, this is not conventional usage). In 1909, Cooley noted that a communication medium could be assessed in terms of four key features that we may nowadays term affordances: expressiveness or ‘the range of ideas and feelings it is competent to carry’; permanence or ‘the overcoming of time’; swiftness or ‘the overcoming of space’; and diffusion or ‘*access to all classes of men’.

2. In references to Information and Communication Technologies, the latter are conventionally regarded as consisting of telecommunications and network technologies.

http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=45 History of Communication Media: Friedrich Kittler

Subjects: Media Studies.


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