The history of communication

Communication has existed in different forms for thousands of years.

To fully understand how important communication is to the way we live today, let’s go back to the beginning and take a brief look at how we have communicated over time.

Ancient forms of communication:

Along with song, dance and the spoken word, in prehistoric times (as early as 70,000 BC), humans communicated with each other through rock art.

Cave drawings are the earliest known forms of written communication and they still exist in some areas today. They often depict humans, animals and symbols, which represented objects or meanings.

Fast forward to around 3500 BC and what is believed to be the first writing system appears, known as cuneiform, in Mesopotamia. Not long afterwards, in 3300 BC, Egyptian hieroglyphs begin to appear. These systems are considered to be the first attempts at recording words, as well as numbers and symbols.

The postal service came to be at around 1800 BC, with people on foot delivering messages to others – but words weren’t the only form of communication at this time. Ancient Chinese soldiers used smoke signals to relay warnings to their fellow comrades of incoming attacks.

The invention of paper occurred in China around 200 BC, opening up new ways to communicate, with people able to write down history, thoughts and stories in books as well as on pieces of parchment and scrolls.

The era of mass communication:

The next major step in communication was the invention of the printing press in 1440 AD. The printing press allowed mass communication, and gave rise to the invention of regular publications, including newspapers.

A massive boom of invention in the 1800s led to the telegraph, daguerreotype, telephone, phonograph, gramophone, motion picture camera, wireless telegraphy and tesla coils, which provided new ways for people to communicate. Communication no longer relied on the written word but spoken and visual elements as well.

Throughout the 20th Century, televisions, long distance radio communication, computers, the internet and email were all created, opening doors to entirely new ways of communicating with others. People were now able to talk to anyone in the world instantly and could know of major world events as they occurred.

Present and future:

The 21st Century has seen the creation of new technologies and social media which means anyone can share anything with a large amount of people instantly. Moments can now be captured and posted online within seconds or even shot live, so people can see things as they happen.

The introduction of the smartphone also means many forms of communication are available, on one device, in the palm of your hand. Calls, texts, email and social media mean we are always contactable. According to the public relations team at Adoni Media, social media has also given rise to a new form of community and unique ways of interacting with others.

Where the future will go, who can tell? Methods of communication are ever-changing, as new technologies develop and our ways of interacting with the people around us change.