Towards a Unified Communications Model (UCM)
Everything is a message
But what’s a message?
Any stream of energy or matter that encodes information. We might not have the wits, consciousness or devices to decode the information and make it meaningful, but the message is still there. We might not even notice the message, as relevance is an extremely powerful filter in Human Information Processing (HIP).
What might be relevant to each person varies and depends greatly on the person's personality type(s). Which is where much human communication fails, as one personality type will tend to communicate in ways that another personality type might not even recognise, depending on the cognitive, affective and behavioural components. As mentioned in the The CAB model of personality.
How do we (humans) recognise a message?
Any message that is received by any of our senses, then decoded, translated, understood or made meaningful by us in some manner.
Transmitted in any format, In many media:
- Written words
- Computer data
- Sound and vibration
- Smell (= infrared frequencies)
- Images and video
What’s a persistent message?
Any message that can be fixed in any kind of memory storage, later recalled and re-transmitted.
What kinds of memory storage are there?
Organic life form memory
o Mind (but not the brain)
- words on rock, paper etc,
- computer data on disc etc
But all messages are meaningless until recalled and re-consumed e.g. by reading.
How do we preserve memories?
Most memory is volatile storage, because when the life form expires, or the media is broken/corrupted, or turned off, the memory might be lost.
Early humankind made memory persistent in the long-term, by copying, replication and distribution (in the form of story telling, folk memories, legends and paintings). Only recently has the verbal tradition reduced in significance. In “western” societies, the verbal tradition is still practiced and does continue in some significant ways and certain groups (Songs, Druids, Masonic Lodges)
The Hierarchical Data View
Communication Items within a Communication Container, which may be manifest in many ways.
In the natural world
- People containing organs
- Organs containing tissue
- Tissue containing proteins
- Proteins containing DNA
- DNA containing molecules
- Molecules containing atoms
- Atoms containing sub-atomic particles
In human society
- An organisation containing people
- A person containing a name (the human person as a legal fiction)
In computing and communications
- Folder containing folders (recursion)
- Folder containing files
- Email containing text and attachments (more files)
- File containing words or numbers or images
- Words containing letters
- Numbers containing digits
- Letters and numbers containing bits
- Bits containing a Distinction (On/Off, True/False)
Pro’s & Con’s of the hierarchical view
Nice & tidy, with a comforting familiarity once the hierarchical structure has matured and stabilised.
- the structure is immature or evolving/changing (why has it changed? Who changed it?).
- the container is not visible (I’ve put it in a safe place, but can’t remember where that is)
- the structure is an arbitrary choice, formed by one person or one facet of an organisation
Any communication container/item may be tagged with keywords. Containers and Items with most keywords in common cluster together (or clustered index).
“Sticky network” data view
So that like-items appear to stick together, even as the keywords are amended, or the volume grows, organise a visualisation that links containers with the shortest paths between them (dynamic travelling salesman algorithm).
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