How communication is changing

Published 3:58 pm Saturday, January 31, 2009

The way we communicate has taken giant steps forward since the creation of the World Wide Web. In a few days I will celebrate my 61st birthday, and even in that short span, I have seen many changes in the way we communicate with each other.

My earliest recollection of the telephone was hearing a telephone operator say “hang up the phone baby.” When my mom was out of the room, my brother and I would take the telephone receiver off the hook because we new someone in the telephone would ask “Number please.”

In those days, we had to give a three- or four-digit telephone number to an operator who would connect us to the person being called normally over a “party line” where several families could listen in to any conversation on the line.

Later telephones switched to rotary dials that eliminated voice operators, and still later they went to touchtone sets that allowed us to dial quicker than the rotary sets. Many years later, I had a telephone hardwired in my car and could communicate from my car as long as I was in range of a transmission tower. For several years now, I have used a cell telephone that is small enough to carry in a pocket but powerful enough to call anywhere in the world as long as I am willing to pay the charge.

The newer forms of cell telephones on the market today allow users to receive voice messages, text messages and can send and retrieve e-mail messages easily on small computer screens right on the telephone.

Dealing with e-mail messages takes up much of my time every day. Other than talking, receiving and sending e-mail messages over the World Wide Web have become my main way of communicating with people.

E-mail is a good way to send pictures and just about any form of documents quickly and efficiently. While e-mails tie up my time too much at times, I’m sure I would not want to do without them now.

Back when I began writing news as a teenager, the stories I wrote and the pictures I took were printed on an old “hot lead” type printing press.

The process of printing has changed many times since then. Now stories are written on computers, paginated on computer screens and then transferred to other computers that set up our press that produces your Clanton Advertiser for you every day.

But the biggest change in the newspaper industry is our ability to give you the option to read our newspaper in a form of a printed newspaper on paper or on the World Wide Web through the use of your home or work computer.

Our online edition,, is available to you 24-hours a day as long as you have access to the Internet. More than 3,000 people read our online edition every day, according to records generated by the Internet giant Google.

Our staff updates the site during the day, especially when breaking news occurs in the Chilton County area.

Our mission is to continue to improve both the print and the online editions of The Clanton Advertiser daily. Whether you read us online or in our printed edition, we want to present to you the best local and current news coverage in the area.

Whether it is used to help us gather information for our print edition or to bring our online edition to your computer, the World Wide Web is an important tool we use daily.

Now if I could just figure out how to set up my Facebook and Twitter accounts, I might just be able to better communicate with my 20 and 30-year old friends.