Monday, May 18, 2015

The Emerging World of Visual Communication

The Emerging World of Visual Communication
By Syed Ali Mujtaba

We are living in a new visual world, a world which is different from the one that exists side by side but remains unnoticed. The new visual world actually shaped when the internet opened the gates of communication highway and the e-mails and voice-mails dominated the cyber space. This format is now being replaced by the new visual world.

In the mew visual world communication is taking place through the webcams and in an array of activities its application is found. Whether its business, board room meetings, social networking, medical surgery, court room trials, every this mode of communication is gradually becoming popular.

The mobile telephone based on 2G, 3G and now the 4G is enhancing the speed of communication of the new visual world. As we are able to see one another on a more frequent using such technology, the new visual world is bringing world closer, catapulting a global society.

As we have started to live under the shadows of cameras, the new visual world is changing our life style. We cannot escape the eye of the camera, whether it’s a mall or a superstore, bus station, railway platform, airport or even traffic signals, we are under the vigil of the camera.

In a super store, Mother Merry cannot breastfeed her toddler, because the camera watches her act, and to some the images generated may be liable porn. Similarly, many offices have cameras to monitor the work their staff and in such a case, one may have to sit tight, because each member is under the surveillance of the camera.Notwithstanding the constraints, the new visual world has come to stay simply because the communication is now happening through touch screens and the keyboards.

The visual technology is helping simulate the experience that a phone conversation or an e-mail exchange may not generate. In such mode of communication, one does not have to travel a distance to make the face-to-face appearance and such visual interaction saves time and energy.

It’s a life experience that’s happening and there is no escape from this reality. There are many who see this visual process an intrusion of the only remaining personal space in their lives and such people do not subscribe to this mode of communication.

They are challenged by two sets of people, one those who are tired of every other form of communication and want to try visual options and other the young Turks who are growing with the changes and the new visual world is part of their life style.

The new visual world has thrown open a window of opportunities but it’s filled with challenges. It requires the basic skills of visual communication and if one doesn't have the skills to face the camera, chances are to be dubbed as ineffective communicator.

So in order to be an effective communicator and to make an impact, one needs to adapt to the requirements of the new visual world. One has to show maturity towards embracing the new technological changes. Those doing so alone can surge ahead; the rest may lag behind or fall by the wayside. Time and tide waits for no one.

The social impact of the new visual world is tremendous. Slowly a world of visual communicators is emerging, as one sees people of different cultures and backgrounds more visually and interacts with them more frequently. As more people see one another, and more direct contact taking place, the fears, inhibitions, prejudices, concerns, ignorance or other negative feelings are getting mellowed.

Whether there is a greater acceptance of diverse audiences and the new visual world is welcoming the visual differences is something debatable. However, the fact remains there is no escape from such a reality. This is definitely a sign of change.

At another level the new visual world is pushing the cart of globalization. As people get opportunities to interact among many cultures, a globally interactive society is emerging. In this endeavor the young Turks is taking the lead. After all, children are not born with a natural fear of likes and dislikes, they learn from the environment they live. The new visual world provides them their own experience to decide as those who look so different have so many things in common with them.

This brings us to the point that the more we see one another, the more we may understand each other and such interaction may bring us closer together, leading to a global society. In such case, the space for nationalism is shrinking, and globalization s surging ahead.

This is not to suggest that prejudices are disappearing and we are moving towards a perfect harmonious world. It’s only to underline the fact that the no matter what maybe the prejudices, one still have to interact with different people on a daily basis. The new visual world is making people to accept those people whose lifestyles and backgrounds those are different from their own.

Is the new visual world is better for our future generation or does it have negative influences on their minds that’s something being debated. There are many who are opposed to the ideas of the new visual world. They argue that children are exposed to pornography and other such vices in a tender age. Children’s creative activities are stifled as their attention is diverted in such unmeaning activities. A child has to have sound body and mind and the development of both is getting undermined by this new visual world.

The other arguments put forward are that every individual cannot be visually appealing and the new visual world is creating a new divide that is based on looks and not on merit. One has to be over conscious all the time in terms of diet and dress to match the expectations of the new visual world.

Some are commanding to control this new trend. They say come on, where are we going, stop this highway to nowhere. However, there many who live by the slogan, it’s my life and I don’t give a damn to those who do not like the way I like.  It’s such kind of people who are making the new visual world’s dream come true.

Syed Ali Mujtaba heads National College of Media and Communication, Chennai. He can be contacted at 

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