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Student Question

How can we classify communication?


Expert Answers

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First, we must remember that “No taxonomies are innocent” – in other words, the person doing the classifying has an agenda in mind, a reason or project that calls for the classification. Fist, we may use the standard parts of communication: code, medium, sender, receiver, static, feedback, etc, to classify communication. Depending on which area of communication you want to classify, you can start the classification at that point. If you are building an advertising campaign (as the sender), for example, you will want to classify the media as TV, radio, print (further classified into newspapers, magazine, posters, etc., each of which can be further classified—daily, weekly, etc.).

If you are a translator, you will classify the “codes,” the languages or dialects, that sender and receiver share as partially, imperfectly, or well shared. If you are concerned with the effect of communication on the receiver (called feedback), you will classify the results of your ad campaign in terms of sales, hits on the website, etc.

If you are mainly worried about the impediments and interference (static) to your communication, you will categorize problems, such as linguistic ambiguity, demographics, timing, etc. But the phrase “classifying communication” is itself an incomplete or ambiguous communication. The simplest answer to classification is in its basic definition and component parts, as outlined in the communication model cited above.

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