Communicating in Today’s World

Part of my job as Director of Communication is to help the offices in our area be successful in communicating with their audiences. So one thing I need to do is stay current with communication trends — NOT an easy thing to do in today’s world. I mean, think about it — I toddled off to college for the first time in 1973.

1973! 

I remember taking a class on audio/visual production during which we learned how to synchronize an audio cassette tape with two slide projectors to produce a seamless visual phenomenon called a “slide/tape show”. We thought we were so cool. (Well, actually, we were pretty cool.)

Contrast that with today’s communication phenomenon called social media. Students studying communications today don’t learn how to use a machine. The profs have wised up — today’s machine is tomorrow’s landfill. So today’s students learn how to shape a message, because today, it’s not about technology. It’s about saying what you want to say in the most appropriate form and the most strategic place to connect with the greatest number of people who might care.

“One in every nine people on Earth is on Facebook ” Source

From Twitter’s own blog: “today (March 21, 2012) we see 340 million Tweets a day. That’s more than 1 billion every 3 days.”

So what does this mean to me? This means that I pass off the social media research and training to a 20-something staff member. Somehow that generation just gets it. They live in that world as comfortably as I live in Levi’s and tennis shoes (yes, tennis shoes. That’s what we called them for many years before they became hip and pricey and needed new names like “high tops,” or “keds” or “chucks.” Tennis shoes. And they were cool.)

I’m on facebook. I’m even on Twitter (I found it interesting that the Twitter blog capitalized the word Tweets. Did you notice that?) I have a LinkedIn account and I recently was accepted into the exclusive, invitation-only world of Pinterest. My problem is… as noted in the first sentence, I am Director of Communication, which means I have a job, which means I have things to do which means I don’t have time to to read a billion Tweets or a million fb posts, or …whatever. Then again, reading them is my job, if I want to understand today’s communication world.

Just out of curiosity — how many of you still own an audio cassette tape player?

13 thoughts on “Communicating in Today’s World

  1. Susan says:

    I totally relate! I am compelled and thrilled to keep up with the various ways in which technology influences how we communicate. You and I are of similar minds in that we understand that whatever the venue, knowing one’s audience is paramount to successful communication.
    I open every semester with a nod to the ancient rhetoricians and the advice from our friend Aristotle regarding successful communication: Convey your message, Convince your audience, and Confirm where they stand. We cannot hope to succeed unless we know our audience. But what a task in this world of instant communications in which we have the potential to reach peoples we have never seen, much less met. It can truly be mind boggling; therefore, how we present our thoughts and reports online must seem credible and informed. Add to that the fact that modern readers are looking for more than just words, and we have a real challenge to integrate web page designs that will catch the eye and inform simultaneously.

    Moving on . . .
    Let me see what relics I can dredge up to contribute to this discussion.
    My vehicle has a tape and cd player in it. I suppose a new vehicle will come equipped with an MP3 and satellite radio.

    Dad has a working 8-track deck and several boxes of tapes that still play.

    We have original models of Atari and Nintendo (games, too). They don’t work on the newer televisions :-(

    I still have a 35mm slide projector, the model with carousels. For Father’s Day, mom and I purchased a scanner just so that we can scan all of their slides that they began taking in 1947 on their honeymoon. Those, combined with some Super 8 movies, will soon be assembled into a DVD complete with period-appropriate music.

    There are two reasons why we decided on this project. First, Dad’s eyesight is failing, but he cans still see the large television screen. By doing this, we can all assemble for Movie Night and share in all these years of memories. The other reason for doing this is to preserve those images. Of course, by the time you and I are in our 80s, technology will have evolved even more. I wonder how our grandchildren will preserve our photos, cds, dvds, and films.

    For now, these are my ramblings. Back to work. . .

    • Dawn Kruger says:

      Yes, Susan, spot on. Funny you should mention Aristotle because I was just referencing his work on rhetoric last week with the communications team. Honestly, sound principles never change. I need to read his work again, because I had forgotten the three Cs you mention here. I have changed them to four words (and I couldn’t find a way to alliterate the last word — darn!) Messenger, Message, Medium, and Receiver. Knowing your audience will influence the medium you choose to convey the message you want to get across, and in today’s world, we have a plethora of media choices. We have little excuse for not communicating, except that, as you aptly pointed out, our audience is getting harder and harder to profile. Still that’s what makes our jobs exciting — really, I get a rush from thinking about how to communicate in Asia and the Pacific. It’s a constant challenge and I love it.

      YOU, my dear, are doing a great job with keeping the past alive. We have nothing left from our days of yore in terms of technology. We have moved so very many times that we have whittled our worldly possessions to what we can carry with the exception of my children’s childhood memories, photos, and a few family heirlooms. Our record player and tape players did not qualify as family heirlooms so alas they are gone. I’ve been noticing all the things you’re putting on fb about your family memories. It’s been fun to watch. Great summer project. Thanks for writing here.

  2. Lois says:

    We do…but it is part of a “stereo unit”. It still works so we saved some tapes as well. We also have a “record player” and MANY records as you may recall. The kid at Best Buy didn’t know what we were talking about when we wanted to buy one.

    • Dawn Kruger says:

      Ha! That’s funny — today’s kids really have no idea. I suppose our parents said things like this about us, but I was too young to notice then. Now it seems funny that today’s kids have no concept of tape players and turn tables, and what about 8-tracks? Now THAT was cool!

  3. Lois says:

    O yeah, the other term for a record player is a “turn table” right?

    • Susan says:

      Ha Ha – that’s right! You remind me. I still use my turntable. I am a record junkie from too far back to mention. But just to show you how things change, I purchased a USB turntable so that I could record my albums in digital formats. Just trying to keep up with things and preserve my past, I guess.

      • Dawn Kruger says:

        No way — a USB connection on a record player??? How cool is that?!? My daughter just purchased a record player to display in her living room because she thought it was “vintage” and matched her mid-century decor. Hey…. wait a minute… that was my childhood and youth. Does that make me “vintage”? Good for you, Susan, finding the perfect blend of the old and new. That’s what we need to do. Keep moving forward but not neglect our past.

    • Dawn Kruger says:

      That’s right, turn table. And receiver — needed for some reason, though I could never figure out why. And needles, and records with scratches that get “stuck” and repeat and repeat and repeat — something that never happens any more (so worship leaders fill that void for us by repeating phrases in praise songs till we’re ready to nudge the needle or toss the album! Just a personal rant there.)

  4. Lois says:

    Now isn’t that the truth! Paul and I have one that truly drives us nuts. The whole song is “yes Lord,
    yes Lord, yes, yes Lord….yes Lord, yes Lord, yes yes Lord….what’s next yes yes yes yes yes Lord?
    I still don’t even know what we’re saying “yes” to?

    • Dawn Kruger says:

      oh Oh OH… I know the song! Drives me crazy, too. Honestly I have a hard time singing with much of the contemporary music in church of late. Mostly I stand there apologizing to God for how unimaginative we are — either in words or musicality, and then I have to apologize for my bad attitude about the music. It becomes a whole mental / spiritual discipline time for me. If only people would always do things just exactly the way I like things to be done… Sigh. :-)

  5. Lois says:

    On another note, but somewhat related to communications, I have been experiencing a new way of God communicating with me lately through the internet. A couple of my prayers have been answered this way. One through a sermon I stumbled upon online and another through a blog which provided an answer I was searching for. Good thing God is in the know about where we spend our time and how to reach us.

  6. Dawn Kruger says:

    huh… God uses the internet, too. Cool thought! Then again, I guess people were just as awed when He used the printing press to spread His word, and before that when papyrus did what oral cultures had never thought possible. He’s pretty cool, God is. It’s really fun working with Him / for Him and seeing how He enters our reality and relates on current levels. A transcendent God who speaks to us through computers.

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