The Effects of Communication Technology

Communication technology has developed within different cultures over the years. Its effects can be seen in social, economic and in wars. And its effects vary from different cultures. It is learning about social behaviors that develop in our societies through the advancement of communication technology.

Within this framework, there are several factors listed that affect the social norms and values within culture such as, language, religion, education, economic philosophy, political system and social structure. Technology in communication has linked all of these and transformed us into a global network called ‘globalization’. I have listed within each article, 3 different genres which has an effect in the way we use technology to communicate: TV, Satellite Broadcast & Internet.


The 1st article is about the phenomenon of television broadcasting: Reality TV in Communications, Cultural and Media Studies by Hartley J. 2005. This article shows that communication technology is about visualization and its effects on content and outcome. This is because TV media is about illumination and entertainment. It is to lead and to mislead (McPherson, M 2006, p.216). People have different views of the world, very often seen through very different lens. We are all exposed to the same information; inhabit the same physical universe, yet we spend a lot of our time and energy in disputes about how the world works and how we live, believe and how to get others to agree with our point of view.


Reality TV makes no attempt to hide values from the viewers and this has increased popularity over the last few years. It combines elements of documentary, soap opera, quiz shows and visual communications. This demonstrates the continuum of television formats and programming. It gives viewers pleasure of particular moments when performance breaks down. These visuals were not seen in the past, but have recently become very popular so much so it has become a ‘triumph of emotional sensationalism over serious issues from politics to science’ (Hartley J. 2005 p.197)


Visual communications plays an exceedingly important role especially as technology and globalization collide in an ever-changing landscape. Kress and van Leeuwen (2006, p.215) talks of this semiotic role in any material production—its meaning, composition and performance which need to have representations from images with skillful use of language. Visuals thus enhances communication when we make links with our experiences with words, images and content in both print and multimodal text, where the understanding of socio-cultural context interacts and engages the readers causing them to imagine and interpret at cognitive and affective levels (Walsh, M2006).


On the NGC website, the most important visual communication feature is that it makes viewing easier with its innovative online schedule that allows viewers to navigate, read descriptions and watch video previews with relative ease. This makes effective use of technology to communicate to its online viewers. To elaborate further, the use on text and composition allows clearer workflow that enables the users to navigate to any specific area of interest. This becomes very effective for each user to be able to read a synopsis of each TV program, watch it and review it at their own time, simultaneously.


The 2nd article – Satellite coverage plays a huge role at big events (G. Berlocher, 2008) is about globalization of media sports culture and how it has exploded into every home and country. Satellite technology has played a key role in the globalization of sports and entertainment events. A sporting event becomes an experience through the entire media broadcast and satellite technology serves as both a central system for event coordinators and delivery of content. This distribution allows us to be at different place at the same time.


The popular culture spreads with the help of technologies of the Internet, digitization, interactivity and broadband multimedia (J. Lull, 2001 p.174). This helps accelerate many dynamics of the popular sports, which are representations and meanings in everyday life. People are affected by actions of courage or skills in a particular sport. We see the communication technology effects on media distribution structure.



Kress and van Leeuwen (2006, p. 225) examine and explore materiality as a means for representation. An image through satellite broadcast relates a mode through the use of elements like sound, syllables, morphemes, words, clauses and color within different cultures that evoke different responses. These methods of interpretation and visual communication differ as they are used in various methods in media.


Satellite technology has helped to tell a “story” within social values with shared knowledge and experiences. However, in an interview with Stefan Sagmeister, a professional provocateur, McCarron C S (2006, p.210) reveals a different view that the key to touching the hearts of individual, community and humanity is to know the audience, and for broadcasters, their perception is to give the viewers what they think is best . Thus, what is best may not necessarily be good for the audience.


Communications via satellite has also helped in collection and distribution of events in a global connectivity infrastructure. This digital delivery method also aids studios in their never-ending fight against piracy. This is because digital signals are encrypted and the systems check for integrity and validate each media coming into and going out of the satellites uplink and download facilities. Another plus point for this type of communication distribution is that it is cost-effective and efficient compared to shipping.


As technology progresses, we will see more multimodal text kinds of visual communications, especially in the areas of high definition broadcast TV and the supernova highways of the World Wide Web. The values and saturated real-ness of color will bring to life the impossible as far as the human mind can imagine to the screens. This makes visual communications powerfully important as it helps to connect society.


The 3rd article is about the YouTube effect, written by M. Naim (2007, p.104) and tells of a phenomenon where video clips produced by individuals are rapidly disseminated to the world via web sharing. This affects both security and censorship within the societies we live in. An average of 65,000 new videos are posted each day with a viewership of 20 million each day and growing. This shows us the communication technology effects on patterns through emails, blogs and social networks applications.


The Internet allows people to know more, find out more, and such info is fast and easily accessible. In recent years, the Internet has been flourishing into many social networking websites like MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube because each individual is allowed to have their own recollection. 15 years ago, the world marveled at the fabled “CNN” effect because it brought greater accountability and transparency to governments and international systems; beyond the reach of censors.


Today, with YouTube, this effect of censorship is further intensified. This is because thousands of professional journalists cannot be outdone by millions of people carrying a cell phone that can record video. This mode of cell phone communication could also be used by terrorists, human rights activists and soldiers in war zones.


The Internet and TV media demonstrates a different perception from print media. Kress, G (1997 p.69-70) illustrates how visuals are spatially and simultaneously organized using the medium of light, and how materiality of certain substances create and develop a particular orientation towards our perception to engage the world. By getting a child to draw a story evokes recollection, reordering and reconstitution of a complex event. However, to have a child write a story will result in a recounting of events in sequential order. It demonstrates that we do have distinctions between writing and speaking and we are affected by a complex range of variables such as attitudes from previous experiences, interest in the subject, knowledge of the subject, the physical and mental state at the time, the physical environment, fluency, skill and maturity of the writer and the readers.


It involves presenting the direction a corporation or individual should take through words, forms, colors and materials, gaining the consent of the public (Kamijyo, M 2007, p.58). One of the areas most affected by this communication technology is security itself. Governments are employing electoral watchdogs to crack down the rising trend of the terrorist group Al Qaeda and its special media production unit called Al Sahab (“The Cloud”). Many activists and human rights groups are also using web videos to expose abuses.


The YouTube effect will see more “citizen journalists” and this one effect will continue to grow. Governments are feeling the heat and some, like the Iranian government, have restricted connection speeds to limit its people to access video streaming. Beijing has been effective in censoring the content to its citizens, but it has yet to prevent them from posting videos online. Millions of bloggers are viewing, watching and checking facts more often than ever on a daily basis. Exposing mistakes are a powerful example of the people’s voice at work. This has made all of us omnipresent assisted by communication technology.




Many social behaviors have evolved from communication technologies of the digital age. The TV media, the satellite broadcast and the Internet have all contributed to a very dynamic framework that forms super culture identities with cross cultural interactions. The three articles have deepened my understanding on how communication technologies have been crucial to globalizing developments and economies.


The Internet reaches out in a global public space where opinions can be exchanged outside of national communities. Technological change affects every part of production process. The development of broadband cable and transmission of digital media at high speed around the world is mainly about distribution and influence.


We see how society changes and adapts as technology advances, affecting people’s everyday lives and the way they communicate. Messages can be sent and received almost instantaneously via the Internet, thus improving the level of communications, even across countries. What’s more, information can be relayed and broadcast to a vast number of people around the globe at the same time. So one person in Asia can find out what is happening in Europe or America without actually stepping out to travel to that place because of news channels.


Of course with this highly efficient mode of communication, there are some downside to this. Censorship is not possible, which may lead to youths and children being exposed to restricted information. In addition, terrorists could also manipulate the Internet to post their political agenda and spread their religious propaganda.


We cannot ignore the fact that the development of communication technology over the years has had a profound impact in the way that people and society live and interact. Even though some may exploit the use of technology, we can also conclude that the rate at which communication technology has advanced over the years has definitely made the world a better place to live in as we are now able to connect people and communities in a way that others in time past could only dream about. 




Greg Berlocher (2008) The Stadium: Satellites Play Huge Role at Big Events, Routledge,


James Lull (2001) Culture in the Communication Age, Routledge, London & New York


John Hartley (2005) Communication, Cultural and Media Studies – The Key Concepts, 3rd Edn, Routledge, London & New York


Kamijyo, M (2007) Axis: Concepts on the Horizon Vol.127, p.58 Some thoughts from our reflection on branding, AXIS Inc, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


Katherine Miller (2006), Organizational Communication – Approaches and Processes 4th Edn.,  Thompson Wadsworth, USA.


Kress, G and van Leeuwen, T (2006), Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design, 2nd Edn.,  Routledge, London & New York, Chapter 4, p.113 & Chapter 7, p.215


Kress, G (1997), ‘Visual and verbal modes of representation in electronically mediated communication: the potentials of new forms of text’ in Snyder, Ilana (ed.) 1997, Page to screen: taking literacy into the electronic era, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, Chapter 3, p.53-79


Moises Naim (2007) The YouTube effect: How a technology for teenagers become a force for political and economic change, p.104,


McPherson, M (2006) Communication Arts, Design Annual 47: Design Culture: Story vs Story, p.216, Coyne & Blanchard, Inc, Menlo Park, CA.


McCarron, C S (2006) Communication Arts, Design Annual 47: Design Issues, p.204, Coyne & Blanchard, Inc, Menlo Park, CA.


Walsh, M (2006), ‘The “textual shift”: examining the reading process with print, visual and multimodal texts’, Australian journal of language and literacy, Vol.29, No.1, 2006, p.24-37



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