14 Kinds of Traditional Communication Tools – Communication is essential for living in society. With communication, we can speak or provide information to the other person or other people at a great distance.
In traditional communication, they generally emphasize the simple process of conveying messages from different media. This communication media helps human survival. Conventional forms of communication are signs, symbols, sounds, and gestures. It looks simple, but it can make your daily activities and activities more accessible.
You may have encountered traditional communication tools in areas far from the city. This article will introduce you to conventional communication tools you may not know. To learn more details, let’s look at the following review!
Definition of Traditional Communication Tools
Traditional communication is sending messages from one party to another using traditional media before technology was developed in Indonesia. This formal communication is part of the traditions, religious ceremonies, regulations, and systems that apply in society.
This tool has various forms and uses of each. Every era also has differences. In the period before there was paper, someone wrote stories on inscriptions, or it could be on palm leaves. Of course, it’s different from today, where communication tools are more modern and more quickly accepted by other people we contact. However, these traditional tools certainly help the development of communication tools that exist today.
History of Traditional Communication Tools
Traditional communication tools were created to meet human needs to interact with others. Experts suggest that communication began when humans were present on Earth to meet various conditions. Because of this, traditional communication tools are believed to be almost as old as recorded human life.
Initially, communication could only be done face-to-face. However, direct face-to-face communication has many areas for improvement and cannot support increasingly complex human survival. Innovation continues to be carried out until traditional communication tools are created.
In its development, traditional communication tools are closely related to geographical location, local tribal customs, and civilization. In Indonesia, several conventional communication tools are still used by rural communities, thick with local wisdom.
Characteristics of Traditional Communication Tools
In the book Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Dennis L. Wilcox mentions several characteristics of traditional communication tools.
1. Limited graphics load
The absence of technology in traditional communication tools limits the resulting information. Standard communication tools only produce sounds, writing, and images made manually by human hands. Evidence of relics or artifacts found does not contain modern graphic information.
Currently, information can be conveyed and received by anyone, even people who are not related to each other at all. However, traditional communication tools are hierarchical, or the resulting communication is vertical. This means that the message’s sender and recipient are in different positions or positions in a community group.
The message’s sender using traditional communication tools is a person with a higher hierarchy than the recipient. An example is the bell rung by the royal leadership as a sign of news to the people.
3. One way
Although communication involves a relationship between two parties, traditional communication tools produce unidirectional communication. This communication pattern is characterized by the loss of feedback from messages the communicant receives. During one-way communication, the message’s recipient only acts as a listener without reacting, responding, or replying to the information obtained.
4. Limited distance and time
Traditional communication tools have yet to include technological elements, so they have limitations in terms of space and time. Messages sent through conventional communication tools can only be received by communicants in the area around the message’s sender. Disseminating information with traditional communication tools also takes time to reach the recipient.
5. Professional Communicator (Telegraph)
One of the differences between traditional and modern communication tools lies in the sender’s or communicator’s expertise. Communicators who utilize conventional communication tools know or at least have the authority to use them.
For example, using the telegraph for war strategy was only carried out by people who understood telegraph code or Morse code—usually soldiers of war. In this modern era, anyone can learn and use any sophisticated communication tool.
Due to limited access to traditional communication tools, their use is also linked to binding institutions. The communicators and communicants involved in conveying messages through conventional communication tools are in the same institution, organization, or community group.
7. Fixed format
We can easily read news from other countries’ media even though it is written in a foreign language. This happened because of globalization, so the barriers between countries are increasingly melting. A foreign language is something that is no longer difficult to learn.
This situation was very different from past communications. Traditional communication tools have characteristics that are unique to one another. There is a code, cipher, sign, and language that is agreed upon in a group. An example is the hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians carved in stone, understood only by their ancient Egyptian ancestors.
8. High access fees
Traditional communication tools are relatively straightforward because the media used are simple and can be found anywhere. This limits the reach and process of message transmission and requires high costs.
For example, they are using the services of messengers who travel long distances with limited transportation. Inefficient message delivery, such as the distance, time, and energy allocated to transmit information, makes traditional communication tools require high access costs.
Kinds of Traditional Communication Tools
The following will explain some of the traditional communication tools used in ancient times to convey messages to others. Here are a variety of trconventionalools.
Kentungan is the oldest communication medium in Indonesia. Kentungan has been used since the days of Demak, Mataram, Surakarta, and Yogyakarta kingdoms. Kentungan has historically been a medium of communication between communities. This communication tool is used to gather masses and announce an alarm and a warning sign.
In its physical form, clappers are made of teak wood or bamboo sticks. The bamboo’s inside is carved, so there’s a space where you can make a sound when you’re hitting the bamboo. Because rackets are usually made of wood, they can produce a loud sound. Kentungans are available in various sizes, measuring around 40 centimeters and 1.5-2 meters high.
Currently, clappers are still used to communicate in rural areas. The rhythm of the clappers can change depending on what program you’d like to convey. Kentungan is also used to inform the general public about an event. This tool was used during the kingdom to get the king’s orders to his people.
Letters are his day’s most famous and frequently used traditional communication tools. Letters are a medium for communicating over long distances. However, sending and receiving letters certainly takes quite a long time.
Currently, there are also letters to communicate with other people. However, the letter has been modified to be electronic, namely what we know as e-mail. Not only e-mail, but the concept of a letter communication tool is limited to another form with the same function, namely being able to communicate with one or more people remotely.
Folklore was also used as a means of communication in ancient times. This folklore aims to tell the past stories that existed in the life of an area. This story usually also includes a moral message for children always to do good deeds and avoid bad ones. In addition, this folklore is used to spread many other benefits, such as social control, reinforcement of customs, and recognition of norms that exist in society.
Every region in Indonesia has its exciting folklore and provides many lessons. Examples of well-known folk stories include Bawang Merah Bawang Putih from Riau, Timun Mas from Central Java, and Lutung Kasarung from West Java.
4. Puppet Show
Similar to folklore. This puppet show is a medium to convey stories to the public. Wayang is also included as a means of communication because this performance gives stories from ancient times to people who are not familiar with these stories.
The story certainly has historical and moral values that can be used as a lesson. Apart from that, puppet shows can undoubtedly be used as entertainment for the community. After watching Wayang, you can take good information and leave something terrible behind. You will get a lot of historical experience from watching wayang performances.
5. Tin with String
The following traditional means of communication is a can with a rope. Even though this communication tool is identical to children’s toys, it is a tool in ancient times.
This communication device works quite simply; you only need to use a can as a voice catcher and a rope as a sound propagator. You must prepare two cans with holes punched in the bottom as big as the rope you prepared. After that, could you insert the string into the hole and connect it to the other can?
Once both cans are connected, you can communicate through the cans. However, the two cans’ strings must be taut. The two cans must be attracted to each other so that sound can travel from one can to the other.
6. Palm leaves
Society in ancient times as an activity such as correspondence. This activity was carried out during the royal era, using palm leaves as a medium for writing. The writing on this palm leaf is Arabic-Malay, where the paper is Arabic letters but is still read in Malay or Indonesian.
Kingdoms that used palm leaves as media, such as the kingdoms of Tarumanegara, Sriwijaya, Pajajaran, Majapahit, and Mataram. Royal people also used this medium to write ancient manuscripts in their time.
The palm leaves used are usually dried before writing. In areas such as Java, Bali, and Madura, they use lontar leaves for writing because the writing and leaves are more durable and can be immortalized. You can even see ancient palm-leaf manuscripts in the National Library.
People used smoke in ancient times to send messages over long distances. A puff of smoke that has risen above will have meaning to communicate with people who understand the importance of the breath of smoke.
The people who use this smoke for long-distance communication are Indian tribes in the United States. In addition, the Greeks also used smoke to communicate at the time of Darius I. Then, the ancient Chinese used smoke placed on the Chinese Wall as a guard tower.
As a means of long-distance communication, puffs of smoke were used as a source of warning in ancient times. Generally, there will be a puff of smoke when someone feels lost in the forest and asks for help. Besides that, it is also used as a warning if an enemy starts to approach an inhabited area.
Beduk is also a traditional communication tool. Beduk is made of wood and goat skin. The goat skin lies on the surface of the drum, which will later be beaten using a blunt stick or drum beater.
Beduk in Indonesia is used to indicate that it is time for prayer. The muezzin usually hits the drum before the call to prayer echoes. The rhythm of hitting the drum for the call to worship is also different from the usual beating of the drum.
Beduk is not only used in Indonesia. In Japan, there is also a drum-like instrument called the wakaido. But of course, its use is different from that in Indonesia.
It is a traditional musical instrument, and gamelan can also be classified as a conventional communication tool.
Gamelan, part of this traditional communication tool, is usually used to communicate with the dancers. This is because the gamelan becomes a marker for the dancers to change the dance’s movement.
The rhythm that is sounded through the gamelan is beat for the dancers. So, with gamelan, the dancers and musicians will be in sync because they can adjust the music and dance. Gamelan, in this case, will create harmony for dance performances.
The following means of communication is the dove. This bird is an intelligent animal that easily memorizes directions. If you train it, then this bird can be a reliable messenger.
Things like this exist in the Harry Potter films, where owls are often used to carry letters or other items to be sent from one place to another. However, this method does not only exist in movies; it can also be followed in the real world.
In ancient times, people often used doves as a means of communication. Of course, it has to be a trained bird. Otherwise, it might be difficult for the message to be conveyed.
How to send messages by wrapping objects or letters, then tied to a dove’s leg. After that, the dove will fly with your message to the destination according to what was taught before.
11. Ancient Paintings
In ancient times, people used painting as a means of communication. This painting is used to tell an incident at that time that someone experienced. Usually, people in ancient times painted what they saw and experienced using cave walls as media.
Indonesia also has various paintings in caves which also come from ancient times. For example, old pictures in the Leang-Leang Cave, which at this time has become a prehistoric park. The cave is located in Bantimurung District, Maros Regency, South Sulawesi.
There are various kinds of paintings in the cave. One of them is an image of a palm which archaeologists estimate to be 5,000 years old. Besides that, there are also paintings such as pigs, deer, and also red pike points.
Inscriptions were used by people in ancient times as a medium to tell stories or communicate. In the era before the discovery of paper, Indonesia also used inscriptions as a writing medium. This media was used in the 5th century AD after Hinduism and Buddhism entered Indonesia.
At that time, the Indonesian people were familiar with writing and had similar characters. One of the famous royal heritage in Indonesia is the Yupa inscription. The inscription reads about the events of the Waprakeswara ceremony held by the King of Kutai, Mulawarman.
The following traditional communication tool is the bell. The bell is made of metal and can produce sound from the bell seeds that come into contact with the bell body. This bell resembles a clap; the only difference is that the sound is louder because it is made of metal.
Use the bell by moving it to the right and left so that the bell seeds hit the bell body, producing a loud sound. The sound of these bells is used as a communication tool to gather people, to give warning signs, to remind the time of worship, and also for school entrance bells.
Times are changing, and communication tools are growing after the discovery of electricity as an energy resource. This telegraph is also included in traditional communication tools because the telegraph was used in the 1800s – 1900s.
A telegraph is a communication tool for sending and receiving messages remotely. The telegraph does not send writing as in the use of other means of communication. In this case, the telegraph sends simple Morse codes. It also requires the cost of electric pulses through a single cable.
At first, the telegraph could only send messages as far as 32 kilometers. This is due to the weak reception of the telegraph signal if the message is sent too far. After that, the inventor of Morse code strengthened the relay, which functioned to repeat the movement and made it easier for the telegraph to send alerts even further.
Similar to the drum, kentungan is a traditional communication tool whose method of use is being hit. The primary material for making clappers is bamboo, wood, and bat. The original clappers are cylindrical or tube-shaped with a hole in the center, so the reflected sound is louder. According to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), clappers indicate a time or danger sign or gather masses.
Humans try to record the events that occur in their lives more systematically. Writing is the solution to that vision. With writing, information will last longer and can be understood by readers and successors.
At the time when humans began to recognize writing, traditional communication tools began to develop. Humans are also looking for media that can be used to document their papers. Stone is a conventional communication tool considered sturdy and easy to carry on long journeys by messengers.
When studying history, we know that Indonesia has important heritages in the form of inscriptions. An inscription is a stone on which a row of human handwriting has been affixed, which contains an important announcement.