DIGITAL SPATIALITY, TIME, CULTURE AND HUMAN COMMUNICATION
Table of Contents
HUMAN COMMUNICATION – DEFINITION 4
INTRAPERSONAL COMMUNICATION 6
VERBAL AND NON-VERBAL HUMAN COMMUNICATION 7
THE EFFECT OF TIME ON HUMAN COMMUNICATION 10
DIGITAL SPATIALITY IN RELATION TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION 10
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION 17
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION 18
Human communication is an important phenomenon that entails using the human sense organs to transfer information in form of signs, symbols or voice to other people.
it is an extensive field that explores several interpretations of communication based on the modes with which the communication is done.
Communication is evident in how humans carry out their daily routines. It is in fact essential for information dissipation.
Innovations, societal developments and economic growth are hinged on communication processes since they depend on knowledge and meaningful information to occur. This then poses human communication as a major contributing factor for societal development.
Communication in itself has existed way before a name could be given to it. That is the explanation for how the people of the medieval age could survive.
Human communication is intricately linked to culture and time, as they represent factors that determine what communication modes are imbibed.
The media theorist, H. Marshall McLuhan asserted that societies are changed by the advances of technology, especially communication technologies.
There is a desperate need to have one’s thoughts propagated without alteration. This is not only necessary for interactions between two people, or a few groups, but also for the communication existing between the government and the members of the public. Human communication is also linked to the nation’s sustainable development.
Development Communication is the use of communication to enhance development in societies. It is the 5th theory of the Press. Development communication is able to transform an economy from poverty to a state of stability.
This paper explores the effects of human communication on societal development through major determinants such as evolving technology, time and culture.
It also discusses human communication models, as well as the implication of technology on development communication.
HUMAN COMMUNICATION – DEFINITION
Human communication is both social and cognitive because it is a process by which individuals exchange information and influence one another through a common system of symbols and signs. (Higgins & Semin, 2001).
Human communication goes beyond just speaking, and in fact covers aspects of facial expressions and touch.
There are several perceptions that theorists have had with respect to human communication. These perceptions have shaped what human communication is defined to be. While some argue that human communication is only valid when it is intentionally sent, some think that if a meaning could be derived from an action, then communication indeed took place.
The idea that humans need to communicate is in no form a new ideology, and hence has existed from the time that man existed. Man, however, acquires new rules of communication as he begins to dwell in a particular environment. (Watzlawick, Beavin, & Jackson).
Human communication, though seemingly simple, is a complex process as it implies sending several signals all at once with the intent that they should be understood. It is more often
Human communication cuts across a lot of theories and fields. Theorists is various fields view human communication from various perspectives. Nevertheless, human communication is concerned about messages, channel, senders, receivers and time.
THE CONCEPT OF HUMAN COMMUNICATION
Human Communication is a field that has been studied extensively by theorists from several discourses. As a result of the diverse areas of study, there are several concepts that envelop human communication.
Human communication was initially thought of as a linear process where the elements of communication were seen as dependent. While speaking, a receiver was thought of as being just be a listener, while the speaker was viewed just as the sender.
The linear model of communication was in a straight line, and all factors were seen to also fall in line with the communication process. The beginning and end of the linear process is also visible
The linear model banks on a communication channel for its communication process. For physical interaction, the physical environment is the medium; also, activities like writing a letter or sending an electronic a mail adopt the linear communication model. (The Essentials of Human Communication)
However, overtime and as a result of extensive study, human communication came to be seen as transactional, meaning that the communication elements were nested in one another.
This transactional process implied that the sender was also the receiver, and vice versa. It also implied the two communication processes – sending and receiving, occurred concurrently. (Watzlawick, Beavin, & Jackson).
This model of human communication occurs in a loop that is then broken down into a trigger and an effect.
The sensory modalities for effective communication are visual, auditory and kinesthetic. These modalities play a large role in ensuring that the information is transmitted as whole as possible. It is however never a 100% utilized, as some modalities remain more dominant in some humans than in some others.
APPROACHES TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION
There are several aspects of Human Communication, and they are all based on perception and pertinence.
The approach to communication is usually dependent on the underlying necessity. It is also seen that environmental factors affect how humans communicate.
These approaches to human communication would be discussed in this paper.
intrapersonal communication largely refers to the idea of communicating with oneself. Humans occasionally participate in intrapersonal communication for several reasons.
Even though this means of communication contradicts the initial definition of communication, it cannot be ignored. Humans do not process things verbally, and hence, humans communicate within themselves some certain situation. This could be experienced on the verge of making a choice, in a situation when one needs to build confidence for a job role or for a speech rendition.
Interpersonal communication allows for irreversibility of communication, where a person can change the choice he had intended in his mind, without disrupting anything is his environment.
The interpersonal form of communication involves an external party either as the receiver, the sender or both. It is usually referred to as a dyadic communication. Interpersonal
communication is not bordered around physical interactions but also encompasses communication through notes, either traditional or electronic.
Interpersonal communication allows for exchange of views, ideologies, knowledge, information and even criticism.
interpersonal communication is said to come in various forms which include Mass communication, group communication, public communication and even interviewing.
All these variants of interpersonal communication involves senders and receivers.
The intensity of interpersonal communication makes it possible to send messages and receive messages concurrently.
Many forms of human communication fall under the interpersonal category. More often than not, interpersonal communication is irreversible – that is – once a remark is made to the hearing of a person, it cannot be taken back, and this causes chaos especially if the remark was negative.
COMPUTER MEDIATED COMMUNICATION
Computer Mediated Communication has to do with any form of communication that uses a form of computer device as its medium. It is fast becoming a very domineering medium of communication, as humans have come to accept it as a channel for sending and receiving information.
People have also come to accept social media networks as valid places to express themselves, send and receive information, and even keep tabs on other people.
They have also come to accept these platforms as being valid for items sales. Communication has metamorphosed into a digital era.
Through this medium, people now have a capacity to communicate with a large number of people from the comfort of their room.
EFFECT OF HUMAN COMMUNICATION
Human communication is a cause and effect process, implying that it always has a consequence. For every time that communication takes place, an impression is made on the receiver. Knowledge is gained in the process of communication, information is transferred, body movements are learnt – if the process was physical, and intentions are made known.
Human communication is not just valuable for transferring information but is also necessary for meeting societal needs.
The bonds that exist among members of a society are strengthened by communication. For leaders to pass messages across to members of the public, communication is inevitable.
A lot of theorists claim that human communication is the primary essence of human existence.
Human Communication is intertwined with the society, because the society is where behaviours are adopted. This is one key reason why culture is a dominant determining factor for communication.
VERBAL AND NON-VERBAL HUMAN COMMUNICATION
Verbal communication as the name implies, is concerned with communication that is audible through voice. This, of course, is one major way that we can identify. However, non-verbal communication is even more intense. Some researchers claim that during a communication process, more information is passed non-verbally, than verbally.
Good communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, be it personal or professional. Non-verbal communication uses signals such as smile, frowns, gesticulations etc. to propagate several messages. Nonverbal communication is the process of sending and receiving messages without using words, either spoken or written, and it is also called manual language.
” (Borgoon, 1994) has identified seven different nonverbal dimensions:
1. kinesics or body movements including facial expressions and eye contact;
2. Vocalics or paralanguage that includes volume, rate, pitch, and timbre;
3. Personal appearance;
4. Physical environment and the artefacts or objects that compose it;
5. Proxemics or personal space;
6. Haptics or touch; and
7. Chronemics or time. To this list we would add signs or emblems.
Non-verbal communication varies vary from the monosyllabic gesture of a hitchhiker’s prominent thumb to such complex systems as the American Sign Language for the deaf where nonverbal signals have a direct and generally acceptable verbal translation. However, it should be emphasized that signs and signals are culture specific. Some gestures that are accepted is some countries, are seen as derogatory. For instance, the thumb and forefinger gesture used to represent ‘A-Okay’ in the United States assumes an offensive interpretation in some Latin American countries.
(Schmidt ; al., 2007)
Nonverbal communication is so powerful, and hence has the following effects.
• Repetition: As a message is being sent verbally, the non-verbal communication could be happening as well.
• Contradiction: Non-verbal communication has the ability to contradict the message being verbally relayed. When asking ‘How are you?’, one expects a truthful answer, and this answer is made available nonverbally, notwithstanding whether the person’s response was positive or negative.
• Substitution: they can substitute for a verbal message. For example, a person’s eyes can often convey a far more vivid message than words. Nonverbal communication can completely replace verbal communication in some cases.
• Complementing: they may add to or complement a verbal message. A boss who pats a person on the back in addition to giving praise can increase the impact of the message.
• Accenting: they may accent or underline a verbal message. Pounding the table, for example, can underline a message.
CULTURE IN RELATION TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION
‘Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behaviour acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievements of human groups, including their embodiment in artefacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional (i.e. historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values; culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other, as conditional elements of future action.’ (Kroeber ; Kluckhohn, 1952).
Culture comprises of behaviours and lifestyles that are peculiar to a certain sect. Culture is variable in every region, and only tend to intersect at few points.
The way of life of people living in a certain environment determine how they communicate. Communication – verbal and non-verbal, are deeply linked with culture.
In Nigeria, where diverse cultures are evident, the issue of salutation is easy to spot. Among the Yoruba folks, a younger lady or girl is expected to kneel down on seeing an elderly lady or man, and the younger boy or man, is expected to prostrate before the elders.
While this is common behaviour among the Yoruba’s, it contradicts the Igbo culture. Young men are expected to bow down before their elders or shake the elderly men with both hands.
The diversity in the behaviours explain the implication of culture on human communication.
According to study co-author Dr. Beben Benyamin of the Queensland Brain Institute, Humans are made by the culture they find themselves in.
Culture is gender based, and it has affected communication is some way. As seen earlier, the salutation gestures differ for men and women. Also, until recently, political and leadership roles have had women excluded from them. Even in religious settings, culture at some point had excluded women from certain activities. However, in recent times, culture has again mutated to accommodate some of the ideologies it previously isolated.
Culture is largely involved in human communication and has evolved overtime due to certain circumstances. For instance, Lagos, Nigeria has a mix of Igbos, Yoruba’s and Hausas even though it is a Yoruba state. As a result of this, a lot of adaptation is necessary.
Also not minding the cultural differences that exist among countries, communication is still inevitable due to economic interdependence.
With the improvements in technology, the cultural barriers are gradually giving way.
Notwithstanding these obvious differences in culture, there are some level grounds that cut across the spectra of culture. They include the need to express oneself, the desire to be loved and be respected, and the intention to be heard and understood.
THE EFFECT OF TIME ON HUMAN COMMUNICATION
Time is of essence when it comes to human communication. Over time, human communication formats have mutated. Time serves as the object of comparison between what mode of communication has existed before, and what is obtainable presently.
A lot of improvements have been made over time with respect to human communication. It is evident in the new technological advancements in the media.
Time is also necessary to experimentally propose what the future might hold.
DIGITAL SPATIALITY IN RELATION TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION
Digital spatiality refers to the eras and time spans of digital evolution in the world.
Over the years, there have been visible advancements in technology, and this has also simultaneously affected human communication.
Human communication is no longer as linear as it used to be and has grown into being as transactional as possible.
Digital spatiality has bridged the gap of distance that once existed between parties in different geographical locations.
In the time when letter writing was a popular form of human communication, it took a long time for recipients to receive notes from their loved ones simply due to distance and the manual activities carried out in the post offices. However, in this present age, messages are seen almost immediately they are sent, making physically distant people feel closer. With the introduction of audio and video calls, it makes it much easier to communicate one’s intentions to a party far away.
Digital spatiality is a key factor that influences human communication.
HOW HUMAN COMMUNICATION AFFECTS SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENT
One key value of human communication is its effect on societal development. Communication is able to promote economic and societal growth and development.
Development processes are carried out majorly by policy makers, and communication is necessary for these processes to come to play.
Development communication is a concept that enables members of the society to be informed as well as provide information that enhance their existence. Development Communication targets societal development and facilitates meaningful discourses among members of the society.
Through information dissemination, development communication tries to help societies achieve her sustainable development goals.
Development communication has the ability to make available information that can be used in enhancing lives of people, through creating proper awareness, filling knowledge gaps, communicating meaningful policies and carrying the members of the public along in decision making processes.
Through communication, a decisive role can be channelled towards promoting human development in this present time. It is salient to create awareness, improve participation and capabilities of members of the public. Communication skills and technology are central to this task, but at present are not taken advantage of. To ensure the effectiveness of development communication, policies must be made to allow for development programmes.
CORE AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNICATION
In Nigeria, there are several core aspects that need development. The country has over time experienced some challenges in this regard. Proper development communication and proper policy making is essential for a forward moving nation.
Some aspects that worth attention include:
The term agriculture refers to cultivation of land, rearing of animals, fishing, crop production, forestry and wildlife undertakings, and associated activities that aid food and fibre production to sustain livelihood (Obinne, Ndubilo, & Ozowa, 2000)
In a study done by (Adebayo, 2015), it showed that communication channels could enhance agricultural production in Nigeria. The study was done in Delta state, and the sample set was female farmers in the several senatorial districts.
First, the data collection was done using properly prepared questionnaires. There were 1000 respondents for this sampling process.
At the end of the process, it was recorded that most of the female farmers possessed devices that had access to the internet, and that they were all made to form Agricultural Cooperative Societies. It was also seen that there was a knowledge gap that needed to be filled.
Part of the recommendations for the government were to fill up the knowledge gap that was realized through trainings, and to create awareness about proper farming principles. It was also recommended that the government provide veterinary doctors to curtail their poultry farming activities.
The Agricultural industry has the ability to sustain the nation if the right information are communicated to the farmers who are mostly not schooled.
The concept of Urban farming and E- Agriculture could be introduced to enhance farm practices through the use of information and communication Technologies (ICT).
Agriculture is a core part of the nation’s economy, and the sampling done in Delta state is proof that the farmers need to be enlightened on various aspects of farming.
Communication is of essence in the aspect of agriculture seeing that an increased knowledge would increase productivity, and would in turn improve the standard of living.
Education is a key indicator for any Nation that hopes to improve herself. Communication is hence essential in this regard. Human communication affects how the mind of a child is developed at the early stages of schooling. Teachers need to have a proper grasp of how to relay information that have the ability to frame the minds of the individuals in question.
The term that is given to the relationship between teachers and students is Instructional communication. It is the use of both verbal and non-verbal means of communication to trigger meanings and ideologies in the minds.
(McCroskey, 1978) noted, “Communication is the crucial link between a knowledgeable teacher and a learning student”. Teaching and learning cannot occur without communication.
Teachers, through a valid understanding of the intricacies of human communication, are able to determine when to apply active experimentation, abstract conceptualization, reflective observation or emotional involvement while earnestly trying to get information across to the students.
One large tool that has been aiding the education sector is the Computer.
ICT has a large capacity to improve the value of education. The computer is able to engage students even after the stipulated school-learning hours.
There are several objectives valid for the use of ICT in education (Plomp, Tjeerd, Ed., ; al, 1996)
Computers are necessary as an object of study. It enhances the process of teaching and learning. It is also valid for achieving professionalism in various fields of study.
One of the most important features of educational multimedia is the interactivity (feedback) between material and user, and hence the stimulation to better learning.
School students are able to use computers as tools for instructional activities which include doing online assessments, reading from online sources, retrieve past course information, and for accessing course information. It allows for students who are physically absent from classes to still have access to the very course material in form of videos or transcriptions.
ICT also helps to manage the education sector as it has eradicated the need for manual computation of results and transcripts, manual course registration, and result collection.
The instructors and teachers are at the heart of curriculum change and they determine the teaching and learning process. It is therefore necessary for them to prepare young people for the knowledge society in which the competency to use ICT to acquire and process information is very important (Plomp, Tjeerd, Ed., ; al, 1996)
Organizations need to imbibe a good communication culture to improve work productivity and to reduce employee turnover intension. Friction is usually seen to occur in organizations clearly because the ranking system and the inability of people to bridge the gaps that exist between ranks.
The adverse effect of continued discomfort experienced by staff in organizations momentarily cause them to be withdrawn, thereby making little or no effort towards promoting the company’s brand or identity.
In a research done by (Nwagbara, Oruh, Ugorji, & Ennsra) with First Bank of Nigeria as case study, the impact of effective communication on employee turnover intension was examined. The objective was to determine the impact of manager’s communication style low employee turnover intension. This research was conducted under the premise that employee turnover rate is directly proportional to ineffective communication.
Data collection was done using questionnaires and the sample set for the research was the First Bank of Nigeria.
It was proven that the people at the tills and the shop floors of the bank were not given opportunities to express their view in relation to how they deal with customers. Another major challenge that was pointed out was the inability of managers to be open to receiving feedback on issues raised on situations. Also observed was the existence of a hostile climate and unfriendliness existing among staff, as well as relationship building between management and subordinates.
The research also proved that there is a communication disconnection that exists between managers and the rest of the team members in organization.
Organizations thrive on feedback from team members. However, in the event of its absence, the effects are detrimental to the survival of the organizations.
Human communication is therefore a salient matter in relation to the increased productivity of organizations. Research has shown that companies that are concerned about the welfare of their team members, and where the leadership of the companies are very open to feedback and suggestions, there is always a high tendency to be productive.
Another research done by (Asamu, 2014) on some organizations in Nigeria revealed that effective communication creates mutual understanding between management and workers which helps in building genuine relationship among members of the organization, and also increasing productivity. The study also revealed that poor communication can affect workers performance. Therefore, organizations should regularly articulate it policies, goals and objectives to it workers in other to improve work performance.
Human communication is evident in the media and communications industry. Over the years, communication modes have rapidly evolved. From a time where there used to be only newspapers, the radio and the television as means of transmitting information, to our present age where the world has earnestly become a global village, with information scattered all over the internet, through various platforms. A recent development has been that network stations have something called ‘online presence’ where conversation is no longer linear, but transactional.
Mass communication used to be in a form where information is sent out to the public, but feedback is not received. However, with the newest developments of this present time, listeners and readers could send in their feedback, there by experiencing a full communication cycle.
The policies that are relayed to the masses through this means now cannot escape the reaction of the recipients.
Human communication, as a result of the present-day tools and platforms have largely metamorphosed.
Advertising is form of communication that is paid for. It entails entrusting a person or organization with the responsibility of persuade another person (reader, viewer, listener) to take some action on some product immediately, or in the future.
The advertising industry was earlier bordered around the platforms that the media previously made available. Platforms that included columns in the newspaper, time slices on the radio and Tv stations, sessions on Bill boards and distributed hand bills. However, with the advancement of media communication, advertising also took a great leap.
The industry has now also sought to thrive on the web, through the internet. Very recently, terms, like digital marketing and online ads have become very popular. Even the billboards are now mostly electronic; having a capacity to be dynamic in its advert placements as opposed to its previous static state.
This new switch has made a large impact on the advertising industry. Now, various people on their social media platforms can advertise their products to the persons in their circle. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram even make provisions for business pages where customers can directly relate with the seller or the person rendering a service.
This new development has also helped promote small scale businesses especially in a country like Nigeria where the concept of ‘Side Hustle’ has become a necessity.
The concept of buying items online has gradually become a lifestyle, imbibed into the culture of people. With the international E-commerce sites like Amazon, and the local ones like Jumia, Konga, AliExpress and the likes, purchasing items over the counter is gradually getting out of style.
Before the concept of online transactions, purchases were made in person on through physical third parties like friends, colleagues or family. However, in recent times, one could purchase an item just by visiting an online store, clicking on the desired item, and adding to cart. Usually, the items are delivered to the doorstep of the buyer.
This process has greatly changed the way things used to be, and amazingly, people have become more comfortable with the idea. In fact, a lot of people now do more than 30% of their purchases online.
In response to this new cultural addition, many physical stores have also created online platforms to reach online customers. This, of course broadens the scope of their sale, and increases their prospective market. Customers can now rely on and purchase items from sellers that are not in the same geographical location as them.
The responsibility of policy makers in a nation cannot be overemphasized. However, if policy makers cannot properly communicate the policies to the public, there is bound to be chaos. Effective communication is hence necessary for public administration since they interface directly with the general public. These public administrators usually need to organize debates with the public, hear their views, record them and relay them to the policy makers.
Public administrators need to develop good communication and persuasive skills to ensure that the desires expressed by the people are acknowledged by the policy makers.
Also, after these policies are enacted, public administrators liaise with the media to get the information out to the public.
In the event of any emergencies or cases of insecurity, public administrators are saddled with the responsibility of transmitting this information to the members of the public, informing them of any imminent dangers as well as assuring them of their safety. The ability to be subtle and yet, firm, is only possible when communication is properly accounted for.
According to Brooke Fisher Liu, J. Suzanne Horsley, and Kaifeng Yang, writing for the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, “Continued media interaction, organizational support for communication, and effective communication budget are associated with reporting more favourable coverage.”
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
Human communication is indeed an essential part of life, and its impact cannot be overemphasised. The concept of time, culture, and digital spatiality are all knit into the same cloak – human communication.
Human communication is at the very heart of development communication and has such a huge impact on the society.
Chaos is inevitable in a society that is not forward thinking, and the essence of human communication is to bridge the gap that exist among several sectors of a nation’s economy.
Effective human communication would solve some of the problems identified in the areas of Agriculture, Education, Advertisement, Public Administration, Organizational structure among others.
It is necessary for the government of Nigeria to take advantage of the technologies available in the society today, especially with the media sector. If the proper steps are taken towards further fostering heathy communication, there is no doubt that the country will be a better place, having alleviated poverty and reduced illiteracy.
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