Communications has, throughout history, been vital to the existence and survival of mankind. Originally found in its most basic form and function, communication first began and continues to exists, through verbal form. Words, language, dialects, stories, and tales form part of the traditional methods of communication, which allowed and still do, for the direct spread of information and reinforcement of such qualities as identity and culture. This type of communication still is of importance in the day-to-day experiences of all, providing news directly through personal interaction and allowing for direct interpretation, and perhaps even like in many other forms, slight bias. Still its importance is undeniable. The verbal communication is essentially the basis and originating source for all media methods to follow.

Shifts and development within the field, in media presentation and mediums specially, did not occur rapidly, in fact.  The process itself stemmed from the basic necessities of those who employed it, and can for this purpose be categorized over centuries, into the following stages and forms: verbal, written, mobile, telephone, wireless, and satellite communication. Transitioning between each not only, once again directly correlated to the demand for the quicker, more effective passing along of information, but also was tied to the political, social and economic forces during each of their historical periods.  Of interest for this paper is the evolution of communication in the latter half of this past century. It developed simultaneously with, such concepts as globalization and the need for world-wide connection, as well as, advances in technology. All of which, will bring about the methods of communication spoken about in this text—mass and new media, and hyperconnectivity.

As of recent decades, the world, increasing in complexity, called upon communication methods to revolutionize yet again, not only in the manner in which they present their messages, but in the audiences they target and how they build networks among what are now considered to be “global” citizens. The world did not just demand that mass and new media be developed, but rather advocated an entirely different meaning of the word communications to be utilized.  The new definition is as follows, “[t]he technology of the transmission of information (as by print or telecommunication.” Meanwhile, the sudden shift in perspective also created an over abundance of information sources and formats for media presentation, turning what was an originally simple communication technique into a multi-faceted, technologically driven field.  A field in which, along the way, sparked debate over its changes and the applicability of old media theories, specifically their ability to accurately assess new communication processes.  Nevertheless, throughout this period of rapid change in the field, theorists managed to draw from both sides, creating new methods of evaluation, by utilizing pre-existing theories, as well as, forming new perspectives based upon the current and foreseeable information revolutions.

As result of such findings and my interest in the future of political communication, I am looking forward to attending Lance Holbert’s talk entitled, “The Shifting of Explanatory Principles in Political Communication Research:  A Call for Diversification.”

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