The Evolution of Communication


Neil Curley

Neil Curley

by Dr Neil Curley PhD

Born many years ago before iPhones, tablets, e-mail, Kindle, and numerous apps, one had to be proficient in the art of handwriting. Script writing, known as writing cursive was an important element in one’s education. Classes in penmanship were part of your elementary school curriculum. Hours were dedicated to completing your mastery of the written word. Your homework, projects, and papers were always written in cursive. People communicated by written letters, cards or notes all elegantly written in their best cursive style. Writers developed their own signature style that was unique and gave them a sense of personal pride in writing and signing communication.

One’s signature somewhat indicated the character and/ or the personality of the signer. One could be flamboyant and ostentatious while others could be plain and unpretentious. A recipient of a signed document might be able to determine the distinctive traits of the signer. In fact there were psychological studies that examined the shape and size of individual letters in the writing to help characterize the writer.

However in today’s society the art of handwriting does not appear to be of much importance as lettering. We refer to it as printing. Thus, one will note that when an individual is asked for a signature the individual might just scroll some type of mark. The cursive style no longer appears to be prevalent in today’s society. Your signature was once part of your identity.

Fast forward to our life today, communication has changed drastically with the advent of modern technology. It begins with the grandchildren of the Baby Boomers who are known as Millennials. It is the beginning of the digital age. Communication changed with the use of iPods and My Space. Computer use is in all aspects of business communication, information, research, entertainment and so on. Constant improvement in computer technology and  usage was prevalent. Handwriting became less important for communication. Written communication for informal matters was transformed.

communication2Now we have a new generation born after the Millennials who do not remember a time before social media. Most made their closest relationships from Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook. They are the first generation raised with Smartphones. This generation just completing high school can almost simultaneously create a document, edit it, post a photo on Instagram and talk all from the user friendly interface of their iPhone.

A significant aspect of this younger generation is its widespread use of the internet from a young age. They are typically thought of as comfortable with technology and thus interacting on social websites is a significant portion of their socialization. Communication is changing with regular usage of Smartphones. People can become very dependent on their phones and very anxious when they are not able to use their phones for even a few hours. Every call or text is so important that it must be heard or seen immediately. iPhone messages relayed to others often are not specific enough and necessitate more message communication being sent or received.

Oral communication doesn’t seems to be as important as in the past. You see families out to lunch or dinner and every member is on their iPhone. No oral communication between the parties is apparent. Even the aspect of safe driving seems to be suffering. Driving, one watches other drivers with one hand on the wheel and the other hand holding a phone. Some drivers are texting as they drive, you can see their distraction as their speed changes and many times they float in their lanes and drive erratically.

People have to be told at meetings, churches, movies etc. to turn off their phones so as not to disturb others. Courtesy towards others is seemingly lost.

So what we are seeing is a new method of communication that varies from those of us who grew up in a different time. While many of us will communicate with our learned traditional method of writing letters and notes and orally communicating at our dinner, we will strangely marvel how the younger generation is equally satisfied with their method of using devices to handle all their communication needs.

Formal writing still exists in business contracts, research, legislative actions and judicial decisions but it appears that it also will change in the future.

So the question arises: has the method and needs of communication changed? Yes they have changed in the life time of this communicator. So have the profound demographics shifted in our population as reflected in new values of our society since Millennials were teenagers. Life is the interval between birth and death and thus; communication is needed to remain informed of the passing events and time. Thus, be it whatever method is in use during this period of time it is the communication that matters. So, be it in print, long hand, text or phone just keep all messages moving to be received by the recipient.

Neil B. Curley Ph.D, the writer of this article, was originally from the North Shore of Boston. He received his Educational Degrees, B.A. University of New England, M.Ed Boston State College, Advanced Degrees C.A.G.S. and Doctorate in Psychology Northeastern University, and Ashwood University. He also hold a Doctorate in Theology conferred by United Faith Ministry. Further Educational Study has been done at Wurzburg University, Germany and the University of Guam.

Dr. Curley has had extensive experience in the Educational field for over forty years. He has held a position as a College Admission Officer (Assistant Director), Assistant Principal, Director of Guidance, Career Specialists, School Counselor and Classroom Teacher. He also served as School Accreditation Evaluator in the Pacific for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Dr. Curley has lived in numerous places all over the world including Germany, Bermuda, Guam, Cairo ,Egypt and travelled extensively with his wife Joan to over one hundred countries of the world. “Travel has always been a priority in my life since I believe travel provides the opportunity for a person to meet unique people and experience different cultures and customs.”

Dr. Curley is an active member of our Naples community as a long time Board Member of the East Naples Civic Association, the Executive Committee Member of the Collier County Republican Committee, Member of the Collier County Men’s Republican Club, active in College Alumni Associations and active in local election campaigns. He has given lectures at Hodges University and other local clubs on the American Constitution and subjects related to American Civics.

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