Are You Ready for Global Communications?

by Ma. Consolata Manding, FSP

What does it mean in our day-to-day language?

It is giving and receiving information using different instruments, traditional mass media and new communication technology (NCT). We are familiar with radio and television broadcast, printed word and movies; these are the traditional mass media. The media of communication has evolved ever since and developed so fast in the second half of the 20th century.
More often we do not communicate through one medium but we also try to get access to communications media simultaneously. Let us observe people around us, at home or in our place of work. While talking to friends, the radio is on; while taking meals with the family, we watch a TV program; while studying, the audio or video cassette player, compact disc or CD ROM is also on. We can easily switch our ears and eyes from one medium to the other. Perhaps to satisfy the human need for multi-communication, human invention came out with multimedia.

Fig. 1 - Global Communication

Other Dimension of Global Communication

Global communication also means different levels of giving and receiving information based on the number of persons one is communicating to.
When I talk to myself, known as intra communication, a conversation is going on. I can tell myself what to do at a certain hour of the day, which media to use that can serve my purpose, how long will i spend watching TV, and many others.
Talking to the other person is another level. It is called interpersonal communication, a conversion between two people. I listen to what he/she is saying and respond accordingly as I think is best for the moment. I agree or disagree to what is said. I may simply give information to what is asked of me.
Group communication is the third level. Be it a small or big group of people, there is a dynamics taking place among persons when communication process is going on. The person talking to the group would notice who is listening or not. When your eyes are far away from the speaker, what are you saying to the persons in the group? When you scratch your head, look at your watch or nod your head, your non-verbal communication has impact.
Mass communication is usually referred to broadcast radio and television, newspapers, magazine and other printed matters for mass circulation, and cinema. The information in one-way flow from the source to the receiving regardless of who they are. It has certain impersonal characteristics due to the size of the audience.
In the age of new communication technology, these levels of communication interplay in our daily life. To every bit of information that is received by our senses we usually react, consciously or not. Constant awareness is a great help since we are dealing with persons including ourselves. This awareness can bring about communion between and among peoples.

Internet brings new challenges

Internet is a multimedia communication. All communication technology is brought into one place. Do you want to read the latest news update in the country and around the world? See a movie of the month? Listen to your favorite music? Watch a sports TV program? Buy the latest book by your most admired author or choice publisher? All these you can access via the Internet. No need to get hold of a newspaper, or switch on the radio or TV set. No need to rent film video. Traditional mass media and NCT are converged on one center, the Internet. Just go online and surf with your modem and telephone connection.

What is the implication of this convergence?

That almost any information is accessible to us. We are faced with choices of communication technology and abundance of contents. When you go online for a specific purpose, what do you find on the screen? A deluge of data! Among many things are countless advertisements of all kinds. Instead of surfing what we intend to, we could end up somewhere. Advertisers have so many tricks. Website owners creatively find a way to catch the surfer.
Are we ready to surf the Internet? So much data can drown us, make us feel confused and the worse that can happen is to enslave our senses. How can we help or protect ourselves from detrimental effects of over exposure to NCT? Media literacy education could make a difference in the face of global communication. You can try it.

What is media literacy?

It is learning the “language” of different media of communication in order to appreciate its value and critique their implications, influence and impact on audiences. Media educators call it “application of critical thinking to messages in the media… a combination of knowledge and skills required to access, analyze, interpret, and evaluate media messages…”

Communion is the end goal of all communication

The Church in her concern about the effects of mass media on audiences teachers the faithful through guiding principles in the decree INTER MIRIFICA “Decree on the Instruments of Mass Media” proclaimed in 1965. God intends communication to bring about greater communion among peoples, the document says. However, from what we know, the more available media is, cases of miscommunication and disconnectedness have increased. You have stories to tell on some negative effects of television viewing in your family.
Some instructions on the use of communications media are given in “COMMUNIO ER PROGRESSIO, A Pastoral Instruction on the Means of Social Communication,” issued in 1971. It recommends to the local Churches and the faithful the use of mass and group media for evangelization, for our spiritual welfare.
The Church continues to discharge her duty of educating the people. In 1992, another document was issued, the “Pastoral Instruction AETATUS NOVAE on Social Communications. “ It requires every local Church to set up a Pastoral Communication Plan with the inclusion of Media Education. It is nowour task to look closely into these instructions and study how we can make mass media and NCT become instruments of communion.

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