Electronic communication has become a very popular means to communicate worldwide. Electronic communication is used for the transfer of different types of data and images through wire, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo-optical system and radio. Electronic communication is so popular that many businesses and people consider it to be essential tool in our daily lives. The Potomac Knowledge Project from the Marino Institute states “Electronic communications is interactive. It engages audiences in active, two-way communications; a self-selected audience, engaged and actively participating in the communications process.” There are many ways to communicate electronically, each with benefits and risks related to business or personal use. It is likely that in the future, advances in technology and computer programming will enable us to communicate in ways we can only dream about today.
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Different Ways to Communicate Electronically
Email. There are many different types of electronic communication including but not limited to: email, social media newsgroups, chat rooms, video conferencing, instant messaging, phone and fax. Email via the widely used internet is popular because people are able to write short messages, receive quick responses and include photographs or reports with formatted data quickly and efficiently. Sending information through the conventional or ‘snail’ mail can be costly and time consuming. Using email for personal or professional purposes is an efficient means of communication.
Social Media. Many newsgroups and chat rooms now use Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, a type of social media for communication purposes which lets the user give an instant message and receive an instant response with supporting live video images. Users are able to post messages to a particular group of people or to members of a specific club and comment instantaneously.
Miscellaneous. Workplace-communication.com lists over fifty-five different types of electronic communication currently used in the workplace! Some other types of electronic communication that may not fall clearly in one of the above categories above are listed below:
- Short-wave Radio
- Radio Broadcast
- Video Conferencing
- Satellite Phone
Electronic communication has gained wide recognition, has innumerable practical applications and provides benefits for the user including quick communication, is cost effective and has easy access.
Work Related Environment. Many different types of organizations are using electronic communication facilities. Electronic communication provides the opportunity for groups of people in different geographical locations to communicate interactively through text, sound and video. Team members can work on and make contributions to the same document at the same time, engage in meetings and share information on projects. The ability to communicate and problem solve as a team increases the likelihood of an increase in productivity and customer satisfaction. In addition, many businesses are sponsoring discussion groups concerning issues related to the business (products, strategies, etc.) as a resource to offer further communication and marketing prospects. Electronic communication also enables people to work from home, called telecommuting. Working from home provides employees flexibility and saves office space, money spent on paper, printing and postal delivery. The communicated information may be stored on disks, on computer hard drive files and is easily retrievable when needed.
For Individual Use. For individual use electronic communication has become a way for people around the world to share pictures, graphics, conversations, and play interactive software games. People are able to communicate more economically when compared to phone or mail and are able to communicate quickly to friends and family who live a distance away. This type of communication has become a very important means of social communication.
Careers in Electronic Communication. With the boom in technology and the computer industry, software services, electronic communication, programming, and security issues will provide growing opportunities for employment in the United States and worldwide. The demand for individuals and employees who are knowledgeable in the field of electronic communication will continue to increase. Working in electronic communications is a great option for those with marketable skills interested in securing employment in a fast growing field.
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Personal Mail is Insecure. Sending someone a personal electronic message can become a permanent record. It is easy to compromise your reputation by messaging something negative or offensive. Electronic messages are hard to stop once they have been sent and unlike paper messages they can be delivered instantaneously. Electronic messages are not secure and can be easily copied, resent or forwarded to others so you can never know for sure who will read it and form a negative opinion of you. It is also easy for someone to search all posted messages for your name as it travels through the internet; potential employers are now using this as a means to evaluate personality strengths and character when considering a potential hire. When sending a message you really have to think about whether or not you would like the public to read your message in the future. Tom Van Vleck , The Risks of Electronic Communication lists common examples of not using good judgment when sending electronic communication:
- broadcasting or posting a funny message
- sending or posting an angry message
- using sarcasm or irony
- criticizing others in public
- posting a message or sending mail late at night
- sending a message about a person that you wouldn’t want them to see
Business Mail. When communicating with a business or company using electronic mail it is important to look for a guarantee that the company will keep your information for its use only and will not sell your name or address to other companies. Users also need to be guarded when receiving emails from businesses inquiring about personal account information, credit card or billing information as business scams or identity theft have become a significant concern in electronic communication.
Computer Hacking or Virus. Secondly, a big concern with electronic communication is security. Your computer can be hacked and/or infected with a computer virus. Most often when hacking a hacker is trying to access personal information for illegal purposes. A computer virus can impact the computer system and network, can erase data on the C-drive, cause the user to be unable to open files, delete files, slow down transmission speed, may replicate information and share it with others, and can alter the structure of messages which can be misunderstood. Electronic viruses can be challenging to detect and to clean off of your computer. For a business, cleaning up viruses can be costly.
In conclusion, electronic communication does present challenges in security and more recently in fraudulent actions using user’s personal information for illegal purposes. The use of the Internet, computer and electronic communication has become widely used for business and personal use. With the advances in computer technology and the rapid increase in different types of electronic communication, this form of interaction will continue to grow in popularity for professional and private use.
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