What is the message?

the code encodes and which is transmitted through the channel, in short, it is the very object of communication. What is the message.

What is the message?
What is the message?

In communication sciences, the message is what we want to communicate, that is, the content that the sender wants to transmit to the receiver. Regarding the rest of the elements of communication, the message is what the code encodes and which is transmitted through the channel, in short, it is the very object of communication. What is the message.

The message consists of some type and quantity of information, represented in different ways and through different media. Its content can range from a description of the real world, to an emotional interjection or an attempt to influence the behavior of the receiver; and depending on the case, we will be in the presence of different communication purposes.

It is also common to call a message to the support or presentation system of the transmitted information, as we do when we send a œtext message (SMS) or even a message tied to a stone. In these cases, however, we are referring metonymically to the paper or electronic medium in which the message is contained.

Communication elements

Apart from the message, which plays a central role in every act of communication, there are other fundamental elements of communication, such as:

  • The sender. The one that initiates the transmission of information by encoding a message in the language and sending it through the available channel to the receiver. Depending on their communicative competence, the message will be more or less clear for the latter.
  • The receptor. Logically, he is the one who receives the message, and has the task of decoding it in order to interpret it correctly. Their communicative competence also comes into play when it comes to fully understanding the information received.
  • The code. Which is nothing other than the representation system through which the message is represented. A language is a code, but so is binary or morse. Obviously, for communication to be effective, both sender and receiver must share the same code.
  • The channel. In this sense, it refers to the physical medium used for the transmission of information, regardless of the code used. Thus, for example, when we speak we use sound waves in the air; while, when sending a telephone message, we use the same air furrowed by electromagnetic radio waves. Depending on whether the channel has more or less interference (noise), the message can be transmitted more or less clearly.

Types of communication

Depending on the basic elements involved in it, we can classify any form of communication based on the following criteria:

  • Verbal and non-verbal communication. Depending on whether we use a linguistic code (that is, a language) or not, we can distinguish between:
  • Verbal communication. Use articulate linguistic words and signs.
  • Non-verbal communication. Use other types of signs, such as so-called "body language" or proxemics.

Interpersonal or mass communication. Depending on the number of interlocutors that exist, we can speak of an interpersonal communication (a sender and a receiver, alternating these roles in turns) or a mass communication (a sender and many receivers). In the latter case, we can also distinguish between:

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  • Public communication. When the group of receivers is open, that is, whoever so wishes can join.
  • Private communication. When the group of receivers is closed, and nobody can join freely.

Auditory, visual or sensory communication. Depending on the type of channel chosen to communicate, we can distinguish between communication that involves the sense of hearing (auditory), such as speech, music or the ringing of the telephone; communication that requires the participation of sight (visual), such as writing; and communication that involves touch (sensory or kinesthetic), such as the language of affect.

Reciprocal or unilateral communication. Depending on whether the roles of the sender and the receiver alternate (reciprocal) or remain (unilateral), we can distinguish between these two forms of communication. Ideally, a conversation should be reciprocal, since each person will speak and listen in turn; while tuning in to a radio program is necessarily one-sided, since we can only receive the signal and listen to the announcers.