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Explain how technology has affected communication in Kenya today. Communication refers to the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages or information as by the use of speech, signals and other visual aids, writing or behavior. The communication process involves a sender or communication source, the subject matter of communication, expressions used for communicating (encoding), the medium of communication, receiver(s) of the communication and the interpretation thereof (decoding) and feedback. Technology can be defined as the application of scientific knowledge and principles for practical purposes. In relation to communication, technology can be used to refer to the process of constructing and maintaining communication systems. Communication is the backbone of human interaction and it is, therefore, imperative to have effective communication.

The development of communication can be traced back to prehistoric times to a period when communication was basically done by use of symbols mainly painted onto the walls of caves and other early shelters of the prehistoric man. The invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in the year 1875 was the first technological invention that impacted communication to a massive extent. This was then followed by several inventions, for example, the introduction of the first automatic analog cellular phone in the 1960’s. The combining of technology and communication brings immediacy, integration, access and collaboration to several aspects of life. Technological progress has introduced modern means of communication, for example, 1. Telephones.

This is the transmission of speech over a distance either by electrical signals propagated along conductors or by radio signals. Telephone communication permits communication to be carried on between people separated by almost any distance. 2. SMS (Short Message Service).

This is a component of phone, web or mobile communication systems that allows the ‘texter’ to type and send a brief electronic message between two or more mobile phones or fixed or portable devices over a phone network. 3. Electronic mail (e-mail).

This is the transmission of electronic information between two or more individuals by means of a worldwide system of interconnected electronic equipment (internet). It enables one to communicate to anyone in any part of the world provided that the second party has access to the internet. Communication through e-mail may involve short messages, images and even videos.

4. Video conferencing. This is a live connection between people in separate locations for the purpose of communication usually involving audio, text and video. It provides transmission of static images and text and the transmission of full-motion video images and high-quality audio between two or multiple locations. 5. Social networking sites.

It is the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration. Examples of prominent social networking sites include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Technology has impacted communication in various ways both positively and negatively. Positively, technology has affected communication in the following ways: a) Reduced communication barriers.

Technology has transformed the once big world into a tiny global village thus increasing the ease with which people from every corner of the earth communicate to each other. Various modes of language translation have also been introduced to enable all people to communicate with and understand each other. In addition to that, several innovations in communication take into account the individual capabilities of the user. For example, there has been the development of Braille technology e.g. the Braille keyboard to allow the blind or visually impaired people to access various communication services. b) Strengthened relations.

From the conveniences of accessing e-mail on the go to the ease of using telephones and the use of social platforms, keeping in contact with friends and family has never been easier. Constant communication between different parties fosters a strong bond between them as they are able to share each other experiences despite the distance. Long distance relationships have also gained from the various innovations taking place in communication due to technology. It is no longer a surprise for people to find life-long partners on the internet or through the social sites. c) Enhanced business practices.

The same technological advances that have simplified and improved personal communication have also had the same beneficial effects on business. Communication between colleagues is near-instantaneous whether they are a few rooms or a few countries apart. Video conferencing allows companies to have workers scattered around the globe but still hold efficient meetings and discussions. Business networking has also been made easier by social media and online networks designed specifically for that purpose, such as LinkedIn. Companies have also been able to expand beyond their local market and gain a wider customer base simply by maintaining an active online presence. d) Increased audience for information.

As people’s ability to communicate improves, the reach of their messages widens. This can be especially important in politics and activism. e) Increased exposure to education. Quality education plays an important role in promoting development. The application of technology for educational improvement; either in the form of e-learning, m-learning, learning by correspondence or increased teacher-student or student-student communication; has considerably increased the levels of education in the world. This has in turn exposed people to more knowledge with which they are able to make advances in their lives hence increased national development. f) Diversification of culture.

With the world becoming a global village as a result of increased communication, there has been transfer of culture from one people to another. This has led to the diversification of practices that were initially constrained to a particular people and increased global unity and co-operation. g) Faster feedback.

The increased advances in technology have made communication almost instantaneous as the methods of message transmission are quick. On the other hand, there are some negative effects of the technological progress of communication. These include: a) Impact on interpersonal communication.

The effect of modern communication technology on man’s ability to interact with others is visible throughout all areas of society. There has been a shift in the way we communicate; rather than face-to-face interaction, we are tending to prefer mediated communication. That said, our interactions tend to form weak ties, that is, we do not feel as personally connected to the person on the other end of the communication as we do when we are face to face. So while the technological progress of communication increases communication, we may not necessarily be building strong relationships. b) Effect on non-verbal communication.

The non-verbal component of communication includes gestures, posture, speed and tone of voice, personal space and eye contact. These physical actions can be used to show something to the listener beyond what is merely being said with words. They, therefore, may contradict or affirm a message. One major disadvantage with technology and non-verbal communication is not being able to convey tone or physical mannerisms. As a result, the listener may not be able to pick up on the physical cues of the speaker and, therefore, may not understand the meaning and intentions of the speaker. c) Reduced social interaction.

Technology has made it possible to keep in touch with people all around the world through use of the internet, cell phones and computers. Such technology has led to a decrease in face-to-face interactions. Communicating with someone face-to-face allows you to watch their non-verbal cues, such as a smile; a provision that is not catered for while using technological means of communication. Studies done on the impact of technology on communication have shown that some people feel more isolated than connected with the improved communication. This is likely caused by the lack of personal touch while communicating. d) Unreliable information.

The quality of information transmitted through technological means of communication may sometimes be questionable. Messages are susceptible to hacking and thus can be corrupted. This leads to the spread of incorrect information. This is especially common on social platforms where most users just post messages without bothering to confirm the correctness of the information. e) Poor quality of communication.

It is common to witness someone multitasking while communicating to someone else, for example, a person could be talking on the phone while surfing the internet. Although the person may think that they are saving time by engaging in this sort of multitasking, the net effect is that the quality of communication suffers if they cannot give their undivided attention to the person they are communicating with. f) Addictions.

There has been growing concern over excessive use of internet (especially social sites) by individuals. This problem threatens to interfere with people’s everyday normal functioning in personal relations and social activities. g) Malicious motives.

Many people abuse the social networking sites using them to perpetuate fraud and other forms of cyber crime. The issue of declined privacy on these sites is of major concern and has made many easy targets for people with bad intentions. Even with the introduction of privacy policies in these sites, a person with ill intentions can still pose as harmless and befriend an unsuspecting user. In conclusion, technology can be said to have both negative and positive effects on communication in the society. What makes the difference is how it is used. It is, therefore, encouraged that the society strives to use and not abuse modern communication technology in order to achieve an all-rounded development of themselves and the world. REFERENCES.