by T Serbanescu — The Personal Communication project analyzes the technological and social 25, 2011, from .

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PERSONAL COMMUNICATION __________________________________________ A n Interactive Qualifying Project Analyzing the Use and Effects of Personal Communication in the Modern Age By: Teodor Serbanescu Submitted to the Faculty of Worcester Polytechnic Institute In Partial Fulfillment of the R equirements for The Bachelor of Science Degree

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2 Abstract The Personal Communication project analyzes the technological and social changes in the methods of interpersonal communication within the past decade . It emphasizes its attention to of communication today? Why are they used? And what effects are they bringing upon us as a society . This project will involve stati stical studie s, in – depth analysis, and theorizations to find the most accurate answers to these questions . Personal Communication will provide the reader with insight about what caused personal communication to evolve in the way it has, what are the positive and negative outcomes of this evolution, and how it will most likely progress from here.

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3 Executive Summary P ersonal communication methods have undergone a significant amount of changes in the past few decades. To get a clearer picture of this fast growing change – rate, we can look back to a century ago, when t he only methods of personal communication that used by an average person were letter – writing and face – to – face. T oday, on the other han d, methods such as emailing and messaging via Facebook are just a couple of the various options used by people to communicate with each other on a daily basis ( Goodman ) . The abunda nt use of modern technologies over the past few years, for the purpose of personal communication , has reached a point where actual behav ior and mannerism of the user has been changed (Rittinghouse ) . The objective of our project is to determine most often , why are they being used , what impacts are they having upon society, and what possible solutions can help push personal communication into a more positive direction. xperimentation was through the Personal Communication Survey , which was prepared to determine the communication habits of a population . The survey had approximately 323 responses , from the students, professors and staff of Worcester Polytechnic Institute . In addition to the survey , in formation was collected from both published and online materials . The information obtained from these sources was analyzed in detail, with major emphasis on the time – efficiency , cost , and reliability of each method explored. The preliminary research for this project lead me to investigate six different communication methods, which would be the foundation of the survey and post analysis. These six methods represent the six major options of communication methods used by an avera ge person of the modern age. They are as follows: Face – to – face, Emails, Cell Phones, Phones, Instant Messaging Clients, and Social Networking Websites. Upon the completion of the survey analysis, answers to the initial underlying questions of the project w ere evident . Email has emerged as the leading form of communication used today, followed by face – to – face, then cell phones. T he most evident variable for this result is time efficiency , followed by cost efficiency, then reliability ime efficiency as the most important decision making

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4 factor, to which communication method they choose . Reliability is their last priority in the decision making process . Further analysis of the survey results shows that t unaware of which form of communication is deemed appropriate for specific situations , and what the proper etiquette should be in these cases . In addition, social n etworking websites are causing addictions to nearly 50 p e r c e n t of the population, and decreasing face – to – face commun ication skills. One of the most prominent ly suggested solutions to help solve some of these problems is to have a large – scale market ing push for video calling and video text messaging in cell phones, social networking sites, and even emails. This would re – instill some of the forgotten face – to – face skills of communication , which are important to have in a society . Another prominent solution is for schools to educate children of all the various communication tools available, and which of them are ap propriate for specific circumstances, as well as the proper etiquette used for each. The value of this project is to give the reader an understanding of what communication methods are used the most, and why people are using them. This information can be used by communication device manufacturers for m arketing campaigns, and provide them a foundation for R&D initiatives. The project is also valuable in terms of isolating communication deficiencies in a society and what can be done to resolve them. Room to improve and expand upon this project is certainly available, as specific sections of the analysis can be individually investigated to a much deeper level , and be transformed into their own individual projects . F or example : ime E fficiency in Personal C ommunication , or Social Networking W ebsites .

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5 Table of Contents Abstract 2 Executive Summary 3 Table of Contents 5 List of Figures 7 Chapter 1: Introduction 8 Chapter 2: Literature Review 9 2.0: Introduction 9 2.1: Face to Face Communication 10 2.2: Letter Writing 10 2.3: Telephones 10 2.4: Cellular Phones 11 2.5: Email 11 2.6: Instant Messaging 12 2.7: Social Networking Websites 12 2.8: UNRISD Study 13 Chapter 3: Course of Development 14 3.0: Creating a Foundation 14 3.1: Conducting a Survey 15 Chapter 4: Analysis and Results 16 4.00: Survey Introduction 16 4.01: A&R1 Popularity 17 4.02: A& R2 – Reliability 20 4.03: A&R3 – Cost Efficiency 23 4.04: A&R4 – Time Efficiency 26 4.05: A&R5 – Cell Phone Change Rate 28 4.06: A&R6 – Reasons to Change the Cell Phone 29 4.07: A&R7 – Monthly Costs 31 4.08: A&R8 – Opinions on Costs 32 4.09: A&R9 – Decreased Face – to – Face Skills 33 4.10: A&R10 – Overburden of Options 34 4.11: A&R11 – Addictions 35 4.12: A&R12 – Progression or Digression 36 4.13: A&R13 – Ideas to Improve 37 Chapter 5: Conclusion 40 5.0: Conclusion Introduction 40 5.1: Review of the Results 41 5.2: Impacts on Society 42 5.3: Final Summary 44

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6 References 45 Appendix 48 Appendix A: Survey Question 1 48 Appendix B: Survey Question 2 49 Appendix C: Survey Question 3 50 Appendix D: Survey Question 4 51 Appendix E: Survey Question 5 51 Appendix F: Survey Question 6 52 Appendix G: Survey Question 7 54 Appendix H: Survey Question 8 55 Appendix I: Survey Question 9 55 Appendix J: Survey Question 10 55 Appendix K: Survey Question 11 56 Appendix L: Survey Question 12 56 Appendix M: Survey Question 13 57

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8 Chapter 1: Introduction Personal communication has undergone a great amount of technological and social changes from the era of letter writing and house phone usage, which occupied most of the 20 th century, to the modern era of e – communication and cell phone usage, which has only occupied roughly the last decade ( Casson ) . E – consists of emails, instant messaging clients, and social networking websites. In recent years, these devices have even begun merging their primary functionalities with one another, for example, cell phones can now access and deliver emails, and social networking sites now have instant messaging capabilities ( Ellison ) . By a nalyzing the effects that these modern devices have had on time efficiency, functionality, and sheer ease of communication, we develop picture of the overall progression of person – to – person communication. For example, it is much faster, cheaper, and easier to write somebody an email on the computer and have it sent through the click of a button, than to write that person a physical letter, stamp it, put it into an envelope, bring it to a post office, and then wait until it arrives to that person. This project will involved an in – depth research of the types of modern personal communication methods that are used today , including how they function , how they differ from older methods , and how they are affecting society. The answers found through this r esearch will enable us to incorporate an interactive element to the project: a questionnaire survey, distributed via email. The main objective of ‘Personal Communication’ is to discover what are the most used methods of communication today, why they are us ed, and what effects they are bringing upon society. The secondary objective of the project is to explore any possible solutions that may solve , or improve upon the negative effects of today’s communication habits.

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9 Chapter 2: Literature Review 2.0 : Introduction There is a vast difference between personal communication of the past, and personal communication of the present. What is even more remarkable about this difference , is the actual acceleration of how technology evolved . To clarify this point , think about the last twenty centuries, from a time when the only communication method was letter writing , to the point where telephones started emerging . After acknowledging that it took nearly twenty centuries for that progression to occur, think about the last 5 0 years , where personal communication evolved from just letters and telephones , to the modern cell ular phone and various types of e – communication. nearly every new year that passes, some sort of technological progression occurs in the field of communication. Cell phones are constantly being updated with new features and gadgets, instant messaging programs are constantly releasing new and improved versions , social networking sites are constantly adding more applications and funct ionalities , and email clients are constantly increasing their capacity for space and bandwidth . Just a decade ago, cell phones were primarily used solely for calling people , however now, most phones also come equipped with mp3 player s, full internet access , navigational device s , instant messengers , and a video recorder s . An entire project could be composed on the analysis of technological advances in personal communication over the past decade . However , from 1922 to 1981, the era of telephones, the amount o f progression does not even come close. minor upgrades are a ll that occupy this time frame ( Pool e ) . In this literature review, I have divided personal communication into seven different sections, each representing a separate method of technology. They are as follows: face – to – face, letter writing, telephones, cellular phones, email, instant messaging, and social networking. Each of these methods, except letter writing, is further analyzed throughout the project. At the end of this chapter, a study by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development will also be analyzed to get an initial viewpoint on the progression of personal communication in society.

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10 2.1 : Face to Face Communication The oldest and only technology – free method of communication discussed is face to face. This consists of two or more people, in close proximity with one other, conveying their message to each other, through the use of vocalization and b ody language. Technically speaking, this form of communication started with the first of our species, since emotion was portrayed through body language and facial expressions, such as anger, sadness, and fear. Ironically, these fundamental tools are starti ng to regress in today’s society, as popular communication tools do not require them; this will be discussed in later chapters. The introduction of language, about 50,000 years ago, improved face to face communication greatly, and allowed the first homo sa piens to migrate. As language evolved, civi lizations grew, and communication also became more prominent (Hockett). 2.2 : Letter Writing Letter writing, in the context of this project, is the process of physically writing a message on a piece of paper, an d then delivering it to somebody else to read. Let this not be confused with the simple act of writing an alphabetical letter, which is, although, part of the process. The history of writing originates with the first cave paintings nearly 32,000 years ago, and evolves through to the Egyptian hieroglyphics, and eventually the Semitic alphabet. Postal services started to emerge, the first being in Rome about 2,000 years ago, where carriages were used to deliver people’s letters and mail. Much of this process has been replaced by the e – communication of today (Decker). 2.3 : Telephones The telephone was created to simulate face to face communication over long distances, through sound. The first commercial telephone was created by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876, based off the technology of previous telegraphs. Modern day telephones functio n by allowing the user to, first, activate or turn on the device, then dial the number of party they wish to reach, wait until that party answers their phone, and then simply talk into the mouth piece while listening to

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11 the ear piece (Casson). Telephones a re also in the process of being replaced by cell phones and e – communication, which will be discussed in later chapters. 2.4 : Cellular Phones The concept of the cellular phone emerged in the 1950s, and it was not until the first nation – wide network emer ged, when cell phones became functional. Japan introduced the first 1G network in 1979, which allowed users to communicate with each other via a wireless device. Over time, wireless networks progressed from 1G to now, 4G, in which both signal strength and speed has improved drastically (Poole). To get a picture of what modern day cell phones are capable of doing, let’s go shopping. One of the newest cell phones on the market right now is the Droid Charge, made by Samsung . Aside from its sleek design and HD megapixel screen, it was two cameras, HTML browsing, video camera capability, navigation system, voice assistance, HD movie player, and custom application capabilities. The phone sells for $300, with a two year contract, otherwise, $570 ( DROID CHARGE ). Fo r this project, text messaging will be grouped with cell phones. Text messaging is the process of typing a message in your phone, then sending and instant mess aging, is that instant messaging is usually done while both parties are online, and the conversation is real – time via text. 2.5 : Email Electronic mail is a digital message sent through a wireless network, to and from a central location. The first email was sent in 1971, but it was not until computers became popular in the early 1990s, when email clients really started to blossom. Today, most email services are free, such as Gmail, created by Google. An internet connection is required, which does cost money. A typical user will log into their account, and be brought to their inbox, where they will find all of their non – deleted emails; even their sent emails are usually saved, unless they manually delete them. The user can send a new message to any valid address in a matter of moments by typing the recipient’s address, the message, and then clicking the ‘send’ button. Initially, emails were only able to be sent by a computer, bu t now, cell phone devices are also capable of sending and

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