Strategic Communication

I’ve never blogged before. I’ve never kept a diary. I wasn’t a very good letter writer, and I deal with over a hundred emails each day. So why am I starting a blog? As Jason DeRusha of WCCO 4 television says “Good question.” I’ve studied communication for considerably more than half my life and still wonder at its complexities.

Alvin Toffler wrote a book entitled Future Shock in 1970 upon which a 1972 movie by the same name was based. One of the memorable phrases that stuck with me was “instant intimacy.” Because of the rapid pace of change and the mobility of society, relationships would need to be created “instantly” rather than over a long period of time as many people had experienced in their lives. Fast forward almost forty years and we find ourselves reconnecting with classmate through such venues as  cell phones, text messaging, email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and countless other electronic social media. We can reconnect and remain connected through these constantly evolving social media. Having become more involved with these media, I have come to ask another questions, and that is “How does one manage all of this ‘overconnectedness’? Most of us are aware of communication overload, but these media (in addition to the traditional media of radio. television, newspapers, books, and magazines) have taken overload to a totally new level.

Add to this the traditional functions of advertising and public relations along with a new style of fraud (phishing and identity theft). Authors like David Meerman Scott in his book , The New Rules of Marketing and PR have pointed out that marketing and public relations need to retool with these new social media. The old rules don’t apply. Tara Hunt cautions users of the new social media to establish and maintain their credibility in her book, The Whuffie Factor. I particularly enjoyed her book because it related to so much of the credibility research in the Communication field.

Both Scott and Hunt recognize the value and need for more credible and targeted marketing and public relations. Scott even points out that Amazon does a great job of this. When I buy a book, it recommends books that others have purchased after purchasing this one. This kind of advertisement, I like. What I don’t like is the barrage of “one way interruption“. You know, the commercials in the middle of an exciting part of a television show…

There is much much more behind beginning this blog. I’m interested in the development and maintenance of relationship both on a personal and a professional level. I believe in the free enterprise system, especially one that lets me know what is available in my areas of interest. Above all, I am interested in how we manage all this information that is impinging upon our senses (and our computers).

These interests lead me to be a part of the development of an academic program of study on the Master’s level. OK, so maybe this was the primary motivator or the final straw that got me to blog (I have been at this for almost two hours on this one post). In any case, as we developed the curriculum for this Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Management, it became clear to me that we were venturing into a universe that we had only begun to explore. As we scoured the literature and applications, the vastness of this universe became abundantly clear. As established professionals in Communication, we clearly had a handle on theories of Communication which could be applicable to the new social media, but our application of these tools was quite limited and that this new program would need to be on the  cutting edge of the new technologies. In addition, we knew that these technologies would change even as we developed the curriculum and taught the classes. We also knew that some students would come into the classes with more applied knowledge than some of the instructors. For teachers this is an exciting and frightening prospect.

My thought was to keep in touch with those who have a similar interest and mine their minds for ideas and applications (and maybe a few theories) of Strategic Communication Management in their personal lives, in their professional lives, and in the world we live in. So…. I hope to set up categories and posts with the different topics subsumed in Strategic Communication Management, make some of my own observations, and see what thoughts others might like to express.

Time will tell whether or not I can keep up with the pace, but I do have a sabbatical next year, and the topic is the Social Media in education.

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