Tibaldo: The trailblazers of communication

AS I DISCUSS how communications evolved from the period of the ancient cavemen to present day use of digital technology, I cannot avoid telling my visitors my own version of the four horsemen of information super highway. These great men that I mentioned in my earlier columns paved the way for us humans to communicate better and faster through their inventions and innovations. The likes of Samuel FB Morse, Thomas Alba Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Guglielmo Marconi according to my book are the bushwhackers or telegraphs, landline telephones, moving pictures and radio transmission or wireless communication.

Since the time I first opened the Baguio Media Museum on per appointment basis to interested visitors most of which are communication and information technology students, I have actually prepared a module that further discusses the stages of these developments.

The cave paintings, the totem poles, the clay tablets and the use of papyrus in ancient Egypt and scrolls during the medieval period were the first wave of these communication methods which also reminds me of the use of birds such as falcons to relay a written message to a waiting receiver mile away.

At the newseum, I have miniature displays of astronauts, rockets, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module and the NASA Space Shuttle and before I discuss the daring exploits of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who first entered space in April 21 1961 in hi Vostok 1 spacecraft, there was the development of rockets in the race for space and Wernher von Braun was one of the most important rocket developers and champions of space exploration during the period between the 1930s and the 1970s.

When the message “The eagle has landed” was heard over radio and television in July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 has touched down on the Moon and Neil Armstrong uttered the now famous statement, "That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". For me, the decades of the 60s and 70s were the period of many new developments and trends in mass media, fashion, music and the varied arts. British musicians like the Beatles, Rolling Stones and the Who started what people at that time refer to as the British Invasion. Pop culture also became a fad and one prominent icon of this genre was Andy Warhol, a commercial illustrator who combined photography and silkscreen paint into a mixed media that later became a trend called pop art.

From Charlie Chaplin’s slapstick black and white movie to Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey 2001, film production and viewership became a way of life to millions of people worldwide. Aside from being one of the most popular forms of entertainment, it has also evolved as an educational tool for the masses and with moving pictures and soap operas shown on television, it became a big market for multinationals that promotes products and services through advertisement syndication.

I have Chaplin movies and Star Wars episodes to show in case my visitors would need a little introduction to cinematography. Yes, I include Chaplin clips because he is not only a good comedian but a good director as well. He knows how to organize a shoot which we refer to as screen direction and my visitors nod in agreement whenever I demonstrate film terminologies such as; close up, medium shot, long shot and panoramic shots among others.

Before we got hooked with social media through the world-wide-web, the practice of web streaming and online broadcasting was being practiced by those who had access to inter-state terrestrial microwaves and satellite feeds. Closed circuit televisions or CCTV were common to big factories, business production houses and traffic command posts worldwide for monitoring purposes. I was in college back in the 1979 when a pop group called the Buggles sang “Video Killed the Radio Star” and about a decade later another group called The Limousines came up with a song “Internet Killed the Video Star”. Music videos created video jockeys at a time when television is also into reality shows with programs such as Survivor and Big Brother. Of course, I cannot miss out the originator of live streaming through the internet.

Jennifer Ringley, the lady behind www.jennicam.com is best known for creating the popular website where can be seen by those who visits her site. At first, her live webcams transmitted static shots from cameras strategically positioned inside her apartment showing what she does. Ringley's innovation was simply to allow others to view her daily activities even to a point where she is having sex with her boyfriend. More next week.
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