In 1947 Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver developed a model of communication with 6 components.
  1. an information source (a communicator, most often a human) that sends the message
  2. an encoder (human voice, telephone, keyboard, etc.) which encodes the message into a transmittable form
  3. a message
  4. a channel (air, copper wires, the Internet, etc.), through which the message passes.
  5. a decoder (another telephone) who decodes the message from its transmittable form to a form meaningful to the receiver
  6. a receiver of the message
Frequently, there are multiple encoders, channels, and decoders in a given communication.

Though their model was primarily intended to illustrate the concepts of signal and noise in the transmission channel of communication technologies, it was subsequently adopted as a general theory of human communication.

In one of history's freakish twists, it was the broad criticism of this model by Marhsall McLuhan which gained it more popular awareness.