How Has Technology Changed the Way We Communicate?

From the postal mail to email, the telegraph to cell phones, communication has been shaped by technology advances for over a hundred years. Within the last twenty years technology advances have introduced new tools that allow people, businesses and nations to be connected instantaneously.

Postal mail has long existed as a method of transferring written messages between individuals. The necessity of postal mail has decreased over time with the introduction of email. In 1971 Ray Tomlison created the email; a way to send electronic messages from one computer to another using the person’s username, the @ symbol, and the host name of the account. As of 2013, over 3.9 billion email accounts worldwide were sending over 265 billion emails per day. Email has replaced the function of marketing mail, consumer statements, business transactions and personal communication. Written communication has also moved to the form of instant messages, text messages and social networking.

A precursor to the telephone, the telegraph was replaced by introduction of the telephone in 1876. Telephone use grew steadily and became a household staple in the 1960s, when touch tone phones began to replace rotary phones. The first mobile phone was created by Motorola in 1973, but the technology was not affordable enough to become mainstream until the late 1990s. With the addition of 3G data streaming in 2001, cellular phones are now a tool to perform numerous functions including email, video and audio streaming, Internet browsing, video calls, text messages and phone calls.