As I sat down to write my very first blog this semester, I wondered how on earth I would ever be able to apply newfound knowledge of communication practices like the radio spectrum and the telegraph to modern life. It didn’t take long to realize that these concepts are not only important but really applicable to everyday life. I have especially realized that these theories we have studied are literally EVERYWHERE. Classmates and I are constantly seeing something on TV or being mass-sent some new meme, and saying – oh that’s just like what we talked about in IC class!
Over the course of these few months, I have realized that all of our concepts have come sort of full circle. Public diplomacy was essentially a very large part of the creation of radio. Not only that, but it is still extremely important today. Although public diplomacy is increasingly using new technology (Facebook, SMS, Twitter) and seeing amazing results, it is really important that they continue radio broadcasts for those without access to these technologies.
This obviously leads to a discussion on communication and development. Specifically, how mobile phones are starting to shape the lives of people in developing countries. Where they are available, it is clear that they have been a tool for democratic reform. In regards to spreading more phones, there has been amazing progress. Most countries in South and Central America have over a 70% penetration rate of cell service subscriptions. Brazil in particular has been taking advantage of the number of citizens with mobile phones and created a Twitter tracking program to find out where outbreaks of Dengue fever have been occurring with 85% accuracy.
International communication theory and practices are interconnected and omnipresent across the globe. I am excited to be able to apply this in a practical manner eventually.