Just few decades ago, modern communication technologies such as mobile phones, tablet devices, and laptops belonged in the realm of science fiction. Yet there are few technologies that have been shaping the modern societies in the same manner as these communication technologies. These tools have found their place in almost every aspect of our personal and work lives. In fact, it is quite difficult to survive in today’s world without the assistance of these communication technologies, irrespective of one’s education, professional, economic, social, and cultural background. While there is little doubt these communication technologies have made positive contributions towards economic and social progress, they are not without their own shortcomings.
The communication technologies have made the communication process both cheaper and more efficient . The older communication technologies including postal mails and landline phones were expensive, slow, and/or limited in functionalities. Cheaper communication technologies mean more people are connected to each other and it is, especially, true across the national borders. Similarly, communication technologies have removed many physical and geographical barriers that existed before. One can reach the other person from anywhere and anytime. This has also significantly transformed the business operations. The employees can do work while commuting and can access the corporate database from literally anywhere.

The modern communication technologies have also changed our communication patterns because there are more ways we can communicate now than what was possible with older communication technologies. In addition to verbal communication, it is also possible to engage in written communication in real time. Communication technologies such as video conferencing make it possible to closely imitate the face-to-face communication experience . In addition, the communication process has become more creative and exciting now. A growing communication trend is to express oneself through animated GIFs and emojis.

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The new communication technologies are helping businesses achieve higher sales and profit levels. These communication technologies such as the social media have expanded the companies’ market reach as well as enhance customers’ engagement with the products and services offered by the company. These communication technologies have even given birth to new business models such as e-business. . This has boosted entrepreneurship because e-businesses do not have to invest in physical infrastructure at the same rate as traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. Moreover, some e-businesses do not even have any inventory due to the nature of the products and services they offer. Many of these businesses that could not have existed without modern communication technologies have become multi-billion dollar companies including Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Twitter, and Amazon.

Just as communication technologies are benefitting businesses, they are also improving the education system. The communication technologies such as online boards and social media allow students to interact with the instructors and the fellow students in a productive manner. These communication technologies also engage students, particularly, those who may be shy in expressing themselves in class but are more open to expressing themselves in online discussion rooms. Similarly, these communication technologies also prepare students for the real world because the students will be required to use them as professionals as well . This is another evidence the modern communication technologies are shaping almost every aspect of our lives.

The modern communication technologies have improved the communication process between the businesses and the customers. The businesses can directly reach the customers through social media and learn more about them. They can also advertise directly to the customers. Similarly, the customers have more power than ever which has forced the companies to pay more attention to their complaints. It is not uncommon for businesses to quickly respond to customers’ complaints on the social media because a failure to respond in a timely fashion creates immediate negative publicity. But at the same time the communication technologies also present opportunities for the companies to differentiate themselves from the competition through exemplary customer service.

The communication technologies are also playing a major role in reducing the cultural barriers around the world. More and more people are engaging in cross-cultural communication and they are also using these communication technologies to learn more about each other . Thus, communication technologies are speeding up the process of globalization by reducing cultural barriers.

While modern communication technologies have, indeed, revolutionized the modern societies, they have also created new set of problems. One of the undesirable outcomes of modern communication technologies has been threats to individual privacy. Modern communication technologies often result in permanent information records online which can be stolen by cyber criminals. Similarly, it is also not uncommon for cyber criminals to impersonate others because the information technologies are not without potential security lapses .

The communication technologies have also exacerbated certain social problems one of which is bullying. A study at Indiana State University found 22 percent of the college students had faced online harassment . While traditional bullying depended upon the physical interaction between the offender and the victims, the communication technologies such as the social media have removed such barriers. In addition, the audience on the social media is also bigger which may also encourage the offender to target his/her victims. Cyber bullying has attracted significant attention over the last few years because certain instances of cyber bullying have led to victims committing suicide.

Communication technologies may have improved our ability to stay in touch but they may also be hurting the quality of our relationships. Communication technologies such as the social media and smart phones have been blamed for hurting real world interactions. Larry Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University, claims the technology is negatively affecting our real world relationships. The research has also indicated technology-based interactions are not as effective as real world interactions. For example, they found one can express empathy to another individual in the real world but the empathy offered in the real world is six times more effective . It can be concluded the modern communication technologies may have expanded the social network of an average person but they may not have improved the overall quality of the social experiences.

The communication technologies have advanced significantly over the last two decades. They influence almost every aspect of our personal and work lives. These communication technologies have made the communication process both cheaper and more efficient. The communication technologies also offer us more ways to communicate such as video conferencing. Similarly, we have new communication styles such as extensive use of animated GIFs and emojis. The communication technologies are helping businesses become more efficient and, thus, profitable. They have also influenced the education system as communication technologies are widely used for interactions between the students and the instructors. The communication technologies have also improved the interaction between the business and the customers. Similarly, they are encouraging cross-cultural communication among people from all over the world. But the communication technologies have also created certain problems. They have exacerbated social problems such as bullying. Moreover, the communication technologies may have expanded our social networks but such expansion often comes at the cost of the quality of individual interactions.

    References
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