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Digital Communication Media

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Digital Communication Media

Introduction

Digital communication refers to the transmission of digitally encoded information electronically for processing and storing by computes (Ling 2).  Emails, websites, text messages, virtual meetings, and the internet are part of digital communication. The development of telecommunication channels and modern communication technologies has led to the fast growth of new electronic devices, channels, as well as technologies that facilitate communication. The progress of these telecommunication systems has seen digital communication media grow to challenge traditional ways of communicating. This is implies that the role played by digital communication media such as social media, emails, and text messages among other modern methods of passing messages cannot be underestimated because digital media is becoming the main communication medium in today`s society. Digital communication which is facilitated by a network “internet” differs from conventional face-to-face communications has created a virtual community thereby expanding the communication scope and eliminating physical barriers. This paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of digital communication media over traditional forms of communication.

Discussion

Effective communication can be considered to be among the toughest issues in the contemporary world (Ling 15). With the growth in technological advancements, many ways of communication have been opened. People live in a world of internet connection, video conferences, mobile phones, social media networks, and faxes among others. Combing communication and technology is significant as it brings about access, integration, immediacy, and collaboration. The contemporary world has more communication methods compared to the past and people choose to communicate face-to-face through several methods of mediated technology which is also known as the digital media. Nevertheless, before the era of digitalization, there were other forms of communication known as traditional ways. They are today referred to as the old ways of sending messages such radio, telegram, television, letters, newspapers and in African nations smoke and drums. The two forms are quite different with the main dissimilarity being technology (Madhow 22). The current communication styles depend so much on electricity and technology in order to be efficient and effective unlike traditional forms. For example, sending a letter is easier as no technology is required. However, in the recent past, postal services have been improved as the location of the letters can be tracked. Digital communication has given people the benefit of having efficient and reliable ways of communicating (Madhow 28). This is because traditional communication is time consuming. Instead of sending a letter, a person would rather compose a mail which is easy and can be resend within seconds. The main advantage in this case is immediacy and reliability.

Advantages of Using Digital Communication over Traditional Forms of Communication

Digital communication is faster, cheaper, and easier. Today people use mobile phones to reach others in long physical distances. Unlike in traditional communication where one would travel over long distance to deliver a message, today all people do is make a phone call and deliver a message. This is way cheaper and faster compared to analog communication which is expensive and time consuming.  Another example is passing a message over social media platforms like Facebook. One is able to reach millions of people within a short period of time by either updating a status which is shared globally (Madhow 46). News reaches people faster when spread through social media compared to when passed on television, newspaper, or radio. This means that digital communication has the ability to eliminate physical barriers thereby closing the distance between people (Bel 26).   People from different parts of the world share traditions, norms, and cultures over the internet without leaving their homes. Such cultural exchange has been made possible by digital communication media.

The use of digital communication is advantageous in that it opens wider prospects for communication unlike traditional communication whose opportunities are limited. In this case, it is worth mentioning how social media has played a major role in the development of communication in the contemporary society. Social media networks such as Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, and My Space among others have become new social societies where individuals communicate with others. They have made it possible for people to communicate with others in spite of the physical distance. Through the networks, they are able to discuss common topics and share interests even if they live in different areas of the word.

Another benefit is that the use of digital media to communicate offers larger opportunities for the transmission of data compared to traditional channels. For example, the use of digital technologies to facilitate communication allows the transition of large information through digital devices (Bel 52).  An example is that an iPod can be used to store music compared other devices which t use conventional rather than digital technologies. This is to mean that using digital communication facilitates the efficient transmission of data using digitally programmed information sent through data signals, which are easily compressed and send with speed and accuracy.

Using digital communication enables people to document and track activities as well as conversations. For example, using an email is good in achieving the above mentioned roles. Emails can be used to send messages to groups of people. They can be managed from iPads and smart phones or can be managed from a desktop.

One of the greatest benefits of using digital communication particularly phones is that they are significant especially when a person wants to discuss a lengthy subject or talk through ideas. Phones are more personal and enables one to freely express themselves and make things clear in areas where a misunderstanding may occur using other forms of communication. It is also easier to chat socially with others by sending text messages or creating chat groups on ‘WhatsApp’.

Digital communication facilitates a real time communication (Ling 56). This means that people can video chat while in different locations. For example, using instant messages enables people to see the availability and presence of their friends and is advantageous in cases where immediate response is required. It is easy to tell when ones colleagues are busy and when available to help out.

Digital communication beats traditional communication as it is immune to noise. Noise in digital communication can be fully eliminated and the person on the receiving end receives a clear message unlike in traditional communication where it is not easy to eliminate it once it is added to the signal. Digital communication offers its users a sense of security through coding techniques unlike in analogue communication where security and privacy are a problem (Bel 60).

Another advantage is that no paper is wasted since communication is done digitally using mobile phones and personal computers unlike in traditional communication which relies on paper to pass messages.  Lastly, digital communication media enables video conferencing which saves a lot of effort, money, and time. It is also almost perfect as processing techniques are available for digital signals like image processing, equalization, image processing, and data compression.

Disadvantages of Digital Communication

The development of digital communication media has raised the issue of the increase in virtual communication and the replacement of traditional communication. As mentioned in the advantages, people are today over using digital communication channels like social media platforms compared to the past. Logically, virtual communication progressively consumes more time than real life communication. In this case, it is vital to place more stress on the difference between real life and virtual communication. Most people who communicate with each other over social media channels do not know each other. This increases the risks of online predatory. For instance, children who use social media are prone to meet pedophiles who use false identity to lure them in engaging in criminal activities (Bel 108).  In other words, this means that digital communication gives people a false identity and allows them to live a different life from their actual lifestyles.

Another disadvantage that digital communication channels such as emails, text messages, video chats, and social media platforms raises is the issue of information security. This means that people are sometimes forced to use their personal and private information is some websites or mobile phones. This way, they are likely to displace their private information and rely on service providers to keep their personal information private. Nonetheless, digital devices and technologies help criminals to access users` private information. This is a great disadvantage. To clearly put it, users are unaware of whom they talk to using digital communication networks and might use their personal information to communicate with others or purchase goods online using their mobile phones; activities which expose them to online predators, identity theft, and other illegal activities.

Digital communication is also disadvantageous in that it disregards the aspect of human touch. A personal touch is absent because most computers have a similar font. This is not the case in traditional communication where a personal touch is embraced. People are able to communicate face-to-face and feel each other’s emotions.  Also, digital ways of communication have turned the world into an “office”. Instead of people working in offices, they take their work to areas meant for relaxation.

Sometimes digital communication is not as quick as it is assumed to be. For example, using a phone may not be the best method to arrive at a quick resolution. Sometimes the receiver maybe unavailable so one is forced to leave a voicemail and expect them to return their calls. Emails, on the other hand, are not as real time as they are assumed to be. People seem to use emails to communicate even when it is not necessary. This leads to clogging. Sometimes people copy others in on immaterial messages, again clogging the inbox. Today, the volume of emails has heightened leading to the introduction of automatic filters which can lead to the filtering of important emails.

Digital communication is unreliable compared to traditional forms of communicating. This is because messages cannot be recognized as they lack signatures (Madhow 132). Even though softwares have been introduced to facilitate this, they can easily get hacked. Another disadvantage is that severally, the fast nature of digital communication is dangerous as messages can be sent very quickly. This means that the person does not have time to think and at the same time send a message. They might then send the message to a wrong recipient which is uncommon in traditional communication.

Conclusion

Taking into consideration the above discussed advantages and disadvantages of digital communication over traditional forms of communication, it is vital to emphasize on the fact that digital technology has changed the pace of communication. It is clear that the advantages outweigh the challenges. However, digital communication should enhance security of its users to protect them from offensive and illegal activities. It is worth noting that digital communication is closely integrated in people`s lives today and it is hard to imagine a world without digital devices. For example, people can hardly live without their cell phones because they have become part of their lies. As a result, they have become dependent and accustomed to the use of social media networks. Nonetheless, individuals are usually unaware of the threats and risks that come with the use of digital communication forms. As the use of digital communication grows, so does the number of online crimes. Therefore, digital communication technologies should enhance the security of its users to enable them maximize the benefits.

 

Works Cited

Bel, Bernard. Communication, Culture and Confrontation. Sage, 2010.

Ling, Fuyun. Synchronization in Digital Communication Systems. Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Madhow, Upamanyu. Fundamentals of Digital Communication. Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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