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:
- Non-Verbal: Communications in the form of text. E.g. email and messaging.
- Verbal: Communications in the spoken forms. E.g. VOIP.
- Visual: Communications in the form of images. E.g. video conference.
- 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
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.
Email (or electronic mail) is one of the most traditional and common means 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, with 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? Need to send out a message instantly? There are many “real-time text transmission” applications these days.
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 name 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:
Newsgroups are kind of like a mixture of forums and chatrooms. There are all kinds of news groups 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 fallen into total decline.
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 the voice is transmitted through what we call “landline 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, where we use the Internet to transmit phone calls instead of the landlines. This channel of communication offers a huge saving over the traditional landline, especially when it comes to international phone calls. It is not surprising that VOIP became popular and took over the traditional means.
7) VOICE MESSAGING
Remember instant messaging? Instead of sending text messages, some applications actually allow us to record short-spoken sentences and send them over.
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. There are many apps that allow us to do video chap in real-time – Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Google Duo, and Apple Facetime.
9) IMAGE AND VIDEO MESSAGING
Similar to text and audio messaging, video messaging involves recording a short 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. Check out VR Chat.
11) SOCIAL MEDIA
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and 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.
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
For those who do not know, Braille codes are those “strange dots” that you sometimes find on the lift buttons, and maybe even on 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.
LINKS & REFERENCES
- Types of Computer Communication – Techwalla
- Use of computer communications – Teaching Computer Networking
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.