People began considering the importance of communication during the 1940s. It was believed that a poor understanding of how other cultures communicate, led to the atomic bombs being dropped on Japan at the end of the second world war. Although Japan were actually agreeing with the notion of bringing the conflict to a close, it was believed they were refusing to withdraw. This was the main reason people began to try and analyse how we communicate to each other.
There are two main types of communication:
Transimitonal communication considers simply the sending and receiving of information from one mind to another.
Constitutive communication considers how a message's understanding may be limitied by a difference in cultural background or upbringing. Basically, the constitutive approach looks at how levels of understanding can differ due to various reasons.
The information or cybernetic communication theory is based the simple idea of information being sent out and then recieved, with noise becoming a factor in distorting the message. The theory can can depicted by a common diagram showing how a communication system works. The problem with this theory is that it doesn't really consider any limitations in understanding, for example a differing cultural or social background between the sender and the receiver.
The Systems theory begins to catagorize different audience and consider how they may receive information differently. The theory focuses on different classes, and develops strategies to reach specific target audiences. The main advantage of this theory, is that it considers all frames of reference such as maths and science, and believes they can be understood by all classes if communication in different ways.
Another way to consider how ideas or communicated is through understanding semiotics. There are three main kinds of semiotics:
Semantics simply looks at what a sign stands means.
Syntactics considers the relationships between signs, and how they fit under codes.
Pragmatics studies the effect signs have and how to put them to practical use.
Baywatch was a programme that was watched by over one billion people a week in nearly 150 countries. For this reason many have tried to analyse the semiotics the television show contains to find the reasons for its success. Diane Stevenson looked at David Hasselhoff from a semiotics point of view. She believed that he achieved such a high status in popular culure due to his 'physical signifiers.' Everything from his hight and his age to his wavy hair and the sound of voice had a positive effect on the audience of the show.
We were also given task to pick 'text' and use semeiotics to analyse it. I chose this old 'Cola' add: