12 Types of Computer Communications

Welcome to a guide on the types of computer communications. Once upon a time in the Stone Age of computing, computers were “standalone”, and mostly used as “expensive calculators”. But with the invention of networking, smartphones, cameras, and more – Computers now offer many means of communication.

Computer communications can be generally categorized into 4 groups:

  1. Non-Verbal: Communications in the form of text. E.g. email and messaging.
  2. Verbal: Communications in the spoken forms. E.g. VOIP. 
  3. Visual: Communications in the form of images. E.g. video conference.
  4. Haptic: Communications in the form of touch. E.g. Braille.

That covers the basics, but let us walk through a few examples of each communication channel. Read on!

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Non-Verbal  Verbal  Visual
Haptic Useful Bits The End

 

NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS

This is a form of communication that mostly comes in the fashion of writings. In the past, this would have been letters, but in the cyber world, we are talking about text.

 

1) EMAIL

Email (or electronic mail) is one of the most traditional and common methods of communication via the computer. It is very straightforward, and works just like traditional letters – Compose your email, choose your recipients, and send it.

Your “letter” will then be instantly sent to the recipient, no-fuss, no-frills, and no postage to pay for. Getting started with email is also pretty easy, and there are plenty of free services that you can sign up with:

 

2) INSTANT MESSAGING & TEXTING

Is email too slow for you? There are plenty of convenient instant messaging applications that offer real-time text transmission over the Internet these days – Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Skype, Google Hangouts, Viber, WeChat, etc…

 

 

3) ONLINE CHAT

This is kind of confusing, but instant messaging is also a part of online chat. Instant messaging refers to the part where text messages are transferred over the Internet in real-time, while online chat refers to the “feel” where a real-time online conversation is taking place. When it comes to online chat, there are usually 2 types – An individual one-to-one private chat, or a group chat room with many people participating.

The “usual” instant messaging apps often only provide means to chat amongst friends that you know, but there are public chat rooms in the more traditional IRC (Internet Relay Chat), where you can download and access with the mIRC software.

 

4) DISCUSSION FORUMS

Discussion forums are as the English word implies. These are websites that allow you to post public messages, ask questions, share your ideas, and interact with other people. There are forums for all kinds of topics on the Internet – Photography, technology, cooking, fitness, and even “generic” ask-a-question forums such as:

 

5) NEWSGROUPS

Newsgroups are kind of like a mixture of forums and chatrooms. There are all kinds of newsgroups in the world, and you can access them to get all kinds of information, pictures, and files on newsgroups. They were once popular, but ever since the rise of social media, newsgroups have been fallen into total decline.

 

 

VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS

As the name implies, verbal communications are done through the channel of speech. Once impossible for computers, but is a breeze now with affordable microphones.

 

6) VOICE OVER INTERNET PROTOCOL (VOIP)

We plug traditional telephones into a wall socket and they work through what we call landlines… Or simply just telephone cables. While there are still landlines today, computers and the Internet offer a different and much more cost-effective channel of voice communication.

That is what we call VOIP today, and instead of using the landlines, we use the Internet to transmit phone calls. This channel of communication offers quite a huge saving over the traditional landline, especially when it comes to international phone calls… It is not surprising that VOIP became popular and slowly took over the traditional means.

 

7) VOICE MESSAGING

Remember instant messaging? Instead of sending text messages, some applications actually allow you to record short-spoken sentences and send them over.

 

 

VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS

Finally, visual communications deal with expressions that are done through perception.

 

8) VIDEO CALLS

Once upon a time, it is science fiction for people to be able to see and talk to each other through a mobile device as if they are right in front of each other. But today, science fiction became true with computers. Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Google Duo, Apple Facetime – These apps all allow you to do video chat, in real-time.

 

9) IMAGE AND VIDEO MESSAGING

Similar to text and audio messaging, video messaging involves recording a small video clip of yourself, then sending it across the Internet.

 

10) VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) CHAT ROOMS

The wonders of technology. Online chat used to be boring text-based, and maybe with just some graphics. But with the invention of VR glasses, we can now create VR chatrooms and talk to complete strangers in a completely virtual world.

 

11) SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, there are plenty of social media platforms available these days. Social media is actually a pretty interesting mix of verbal, non-verbal, and visual communications – We can post text messages, share pictures, and even short video clips.

 

 

HAPTIC COMMUNICATIONS

As a small extra, this is one form of communication that is not very common in computing – Haptic communication or communication by the sense of touch.

 

12) BRAILLE DISPLAY

Refreshable Braille Display (Source: Wikipedia)

For those who do not know, Braille code are those “strange dots” that you sometimes find on the lift buttons, and maybe even some ATM machines. They are actually “alphabets” for the visually impaired folks to read, by the sense of touch.

Traditionally, it would have been very slow and difficult for visually impaired folks to use a computer, as they have to totally rely on a “system narrator” software to slowly read out everything on the screen. But now, there is an invention called refreshable Braille display – Which is basically a device that uses moving pins to create Braille code.

 

USEFUL BITS & LINKS

That’s all for this guide, and here is a small section on some extras and links that may be useful to you.

 

INFOGRAPHIC

Channels of Computer Communications (Click To Enlarge)

 

LINKS & REFERENCES

 

THE END

Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope that this has helped you to better understand the types of computer communications, and if you have anything to share with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and happy computing. May the cyber force be with you.

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