Communication is defined as the action of conveying knowledge and information through an exchange of messages using behavior, signals, speech, writing or visual cues. The activity has to have a message, as well as a sender and recipient. This does not mean the receiver even be present or conscious of the sender’s intention to communicate at the moment of communication, because communication can generally occur across substantial distances in space and time.

Communication does require that the sender and receiver share a common discipline of communicative knowledge, since the action is only complete after the receiver has comprehended the message.

Communication - Man with MegaphoneTypes of Communication


Electronic mail (e-mail) is a system of exchanging electronic communications from an author to one or multiple recipients. E-mail functions throughout the internet and systems of computer networks. Early e-mail programs required the sender and receiver be available online at the same moment, in a very similar system to today’s instant messaging. Current e-mail systems are structured on a store and forward design. E-mail servers receive, forward, store and deliver these digital messages.

Instant Messaging

Instant messaging, also known as IM is a quick mode of communication using the Internet, that provides fast transmission of short messages from a sender to a receiver. Instant messaging essentially delivers real-time and direct written communication offered as online chat. IM is capable of addressing point to point communication along with multicast from a single sender to multiple receivers. Newer and more advanced IM services give users upgraded formats of communication, like live video chat, voice calling, and media hyperlinks.

Media Mail

This form of parcel post is available to those seeking to send physical media products through the United States Postal Service. It is a discounted method by which many books, images, and films are shipped.


A mobile communication is via a device that is capable of making and receiving calls through a radio link, which is done while in motion over a broad geographic area. It is done by access and connection to a network maintained by a private service provider. Modern mobile communication devices support a diverse variety of services such as text messaging(SMS), mobile media MMS, and Internet access. Other features include email, business applications, short-range wireless communications like infrared or Bluetooth, photography and gaming. Mobile communication devices like phones offering these and more advanced computing functionality are known to as smartphones.

Social Media

While social media is relatively new, it has become quite developed and encompasses many different technologies. These diverse social applications take on numerous forms that include Internet forums, networks, blogging, wikis, bookmarking, podcasts, images, video, and digital magazines.

Researchers in the field of media & social processes have created a classification scheme for the different types of social media:

  • Collaborative Projects – Wikipedia
  • Content Communities – YouTube
  • Blogs & Microblogs – Twitter
  • Social Networking – Facebook
  • Virtual Social – Second Life
  • Virtual Gaming – World of Warcraft

Social media technologies include: email, instant messaging, blogs, video blogs, image-sharing, music-sharing, wall-postings, crowd sourcing and voice over IP, as well as others. Most of these social media offerings are able to be integrated using network aggregation tools.

Communication and the Modern World

Our lives today have become increasing built around an open and free flow of ideas and information. This communication moves through many channels, all of which are critical to improving our shared understanding and the future growth communication technology.