“A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin;
What else does a man need to be happy?”
— Albert Einstein
— Albert Einstein
Oh! The disillusioned physicist. If only Einstein knew. It’s been over said – Man is a social animal. While applying Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest theory specifically to human, the quintessential communication process cannot be ignored. The better you are at communicating, the better the quality of your life. Communication is required to build, maintain and sustain relationships. It is necessary for co-operation, persuasion, inclusion and power. Societies and communities are deep rooted in communication via customised language, both verbal and non-verbal.
Gutenberg’s Printing Press, the revolutionary invention of the millennium, forever changed the way we communicate. Time and the ripple technological evolution unintentionally changed the definitions of ‘I’ and ‘We’.
Historically, there have been two ages of information dissemination since the known development of language— The Interpersonal Age followed by the Mass Media Age. The interpersonal age was characterised by limited audience and access, partial accuracy and authoritarian power over content. This age presumably lasted the longest. Face to face communication has been around since cave men but over the years messages have become more complex in nature. The hallmarks of the Mass media age are mass production, larger reach, gate-keeping and noise to name a few. This age saw/sees its own share of censorship under the facades of democracy, communalism and secularism (call it what you may).
The final decade of the gone millennium gave us digital technology. This heralded the third age evidently called the Digital Age –The age that broke conventions and norms with the blink of an eye.
Digital Age is identified by its beauty to combine two or more media, thus creating convenience. For example, let’s dissect our humble cellular handset. We can browse the internet and use GPS for navigation purposes. We can video chat. We can read instant SMS. We can take pictures and record videos. We can listen to music as well as radio. It has an inbuilt planner and organiser. It can be customised to suit you. And it can also make calls. As for the internet, the sky knows no bounds. Technological convergence has essentially changed the way we communicate. The complexity of convergence and new media has resulted in it being an intriguing problem statement for many communicators world over.
Convergence is not just restricted to the technological aspects of media. It runs deeper. The stringent wall of divide between content generators and content absorbers has been crumbled to a large extent. The provision for the power structure and dictation of content from gate-keepers and authority figures has taken a steep downhill dive. This significant change in the relationship between the dictator and the dictated is by itself convergence. The subtle union of the ‘sender’, ‘receiver’ and the ‘message’ into one intertwined medium where borders are only chalk drawn. The silence has been broken and the lines blurred.
Convergence started as a luxury. Over time Desire slowly slips into becoming Need. Once it has evolved, there is no turning back.
Question: Is convergence the future of communication?
Answer: The Future is here. It’s Now.