Do You Study Communication or Communications?

Something that I have been hearing a lot lately and has become a new pet peeve is being incorrectly referred to as a “communications” student. What really put me over the edge was the status of a Facebook friend of mine who referred to herself as a “communications” student…shouldn’t she know the difference. In all honesty, I didn’t know the difference until much later than I’d like to admit but I believe this is a small detail that we seem to forget to engrain in our memories.
Let’s go through the differences. Communications is the field of the technical transmission of information, like telephones, radios, and the like. Communication, on the other hand, is the study of how messages are received, interpreted, and an analysis of how meaning is produced through interactions. It may not seem like a big deal, people will know what you’re talking about anyway but when it comes down to it, the two different words represent two different fields and we owe it to ourselves and to our lives and communication students to know the difference and educate others that there is in fact a difference!
So next time you hear someone incorrectly refer to this fabulous field of study to Communications, very kindly and eloquently, in the way only a communication student can, educate them on the difference. If not, there will always be that haunting confusion.
“We learn something every day, and lots of times it’s that what we learned the day before was wrong.”

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