Communication Shock: The Rhetoric of New Technology

In the spirit of Alvin Toffler’s acclaimed works peering into the future of the technological society, Communication Shock is a concise history of communication technologies and an exploration of the possible social and human impacts of nanotechnology on the ecology of human communication. As we become increasingly more networked with communication technologies, we must come to understand and confront the social impact of these changes. More importantly, we must wisely choose in embracing or rejecting these technologies and exploring how we might do both by striking an appropriate balance.

Grounded in communication theory and praxis, Communication Shock brings some objectivity to the discussion of technology, maps its development, and encourages a rational conversation about its potential problems and promise. It challenges readers to reach their own conclusions – about the future, imagined and unimaginable, about the fundamental values in conflict, and how one might choose to embrace or contest them to maintain individual autonomy in the face of increasingly ubiquitous marketing and technological change.

Present and emerging communications technologies hold the promise for a bold new future, but they also have their inherent risks and drawbacks. Communication shock is the human response, conscious or unconscious, wherein the individual chooses to resist the growing pervasiveness of technology in his or her life by seeking ways to reduce or redirect new technologies or to reject the addition of such technologies altogether. Here is a framework for understanding the potential of the evolving technologies, determining which are essential and which are distractions from the life that one believes to be meaningful, and making informed choices for the life one wishes to live.


Ty Adams is Professor of Mass Communication and Multimedia at the Gulf University for Science and Technology, Mishref, Kuwait. He previously was Vice Dean of Academic Affairs of the University of Business and Technology (UBT) at Jeddah College of Advertising, Saudi Arabia; Vice President of Academic Affairs of Kazakhstan Institute of Management at Economics, and Strategic Research University (KIMEP University), Almaty, Kazakhstan; and Professor of Communication at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He received his PhD from the University of Florida.

Stephen A. Smith is Professor of Communication at the University of Arkansas. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and the University of Wisconsin; a Visiting Scholar at Stanford Law School; and a Visiting Professor of Rhetoric and Communication Studies at the University of Virginia. He received his PhD from Northwestern University.

"[A]t a time when the acceleration and power of communication technologies has us both excited and possibly a little worried, Ty Adams and Stephen A. Smith provide a timely guide for how we can comprehend this mixture of convenience, overload and distraction and ultimately how to absorb the shock of the new. […] It is genuinely accessible despite the authors’ use of academic frameworks for each chapter. The authors’ idea of a communication shock allows the reader to comprehend why we either hesitate to or rush in and embrace changes in the way we communicate. Readers will come away with a greater idea of the risks involved with our interconnected world and an ability to discern which technologies they choose to take on and those they may want to avoid. It is a theory well worth investing some time acquainting yourself with and this book is a complete introduction to the idea."

Communication Director magazine

Buy This Book

ISBN: 1-4438-7697-6

ISBN13: 978-1-4438-7697-1

Release Date: 5th August 2015

Pages: 210

Price: £47.99

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