Communication is essentially the exchange of information, thoughts, or feelings between two or more people, beings, or devices. But this simple definition doesn’t even begin to delve into the complexities surrounding communication and how it plays a role in our society. In this post, I examine and discuss some of the richness of the interactions and interconnections that envelop the topic of communication. I use as a starting point the Mind Map about Communication that is generated by VeryRelated.com.

First, I will talk a bit about how VeryRelated.com works. It draws upon words contained in Yahoo’s index (or “snapshot”) of the entire world wide web used in Yahoo search. Yahoo allows sites like VeryRelated to access information in its web index, and this information can be analyzed to discover relationships between words. In academic speak, this is called “semantic relatedness analysis” and might be considered a form of data mining or artificial intelligence.

So by going to VeryRelated.com and typing in “Communication”, I get a mind map that looks like the following:

Communication Mind Map

Click to enlarge

The following are the keywords that are most highly associated with the word Communication (in order of relevance):

Community, Control, Technology, Information, Development, Performance, Computer, Education, Presentation, Advertising, Culture, Social, Design, Participation, Leadership, Technical, Fine, Project, Secure, Leading, Enterprise, Access, Transportation, Networking, Wireless, Corporate, Practices, Conversation, Collaboration, Extension, Electronics, Conflict, Cooperation, Mass, Composition, Media, Computing, Competence, English, Journalism, Cultures, Stakeholders, Coaching, Rapport, Passing, Information In, Control Of, Cognitive, Information Systems, Telephony,

Let’s discuss some of the top keywords and think about why they might be related to communication.

Community is fostered through supportive communication. A community needs a communications medium and space, whether it is a meeting in a town hall, an online discussion board, or a protest rally with a megaphone.

Control is, interestingly enough, highly entwined with communication. Media such as TV, radio, websites and newspapers (printed media perhaps less so nowadays) exert the power to shape (and even control to some degree) the thoughts of media consumers.

By communcating a piece of information to someone or to a group of people, the originator is also exerting control by the influence or effect this piece of information has on the recipient. An absence of communcation or the deliberate withholding of information in communcation can also be a form of control. Repeated communcation of messages (such as through advertising) can have measurable effects on individual consumer behavior.

I like to practice this same form of control that media and advertising have on me through communcation on myself, in order to “program” my own mind, feelings, and thoughts. This may sound like a fairly wacky idea, but I find it’s really effective. I consciously design my personal space to reinforce images and messages that I believe are supportive to me. An example of this is a digital photo frame that I recently acquired and placed in my kitchen. I spent nearly an hour choosing a hundred images to display in the frame (which I photographed myself) that reinforce positive things and people in my life, such as good memories of delicious meals that I ate, and special moments with friends and family.

Technology is obviously a key enabler of communcation. It has been inventions such as pen and paper, the printing press, the telephone, radio, TV, the Internet, and digital video that continue to allow new forms of communcation to occur. What’s exciting is that new mediums continue to be developed. Who knows how we will be communcating in 50 years from now!

Information, as already discussed, is part of the core definition of communcation as an exchange. Some other keywords which I think merit further analysis are Education, Culture, Participation, Leadership, Secure, Access, and Transportation.

Closeup of communication mind map from VeryRelated.com

Click to explore mind map.

So that’s a quick look at some insights given to us by the VeryRelated Communcation Mind Map. Hope you found it interesting.

Check back on this blog for more discussions about mind maps and mind mapping in general. You can visit VeryRelated.com to generate your own mind maps about any topics you wish, or browse more mind maps.

Take care for now,
Geoff Peters

Vancouver BC Canada