To make the most of today’s vast array of communications tools, we have to understand how they relate to each other and which ones we want to use. Trying to figure out every new medium or gadget that comes along will drive you nuts and render you useless as a communications professional.
So when you’re feeling overwhelmed and hopelessly behind the curve with all the options out there, just take a step back and look at the big picture. And breathe.
Remember that there have always been far more ways to communicate than anybody can use effectively. Most of them work for one thing or another. But there’s never been a magic bullet, and there never will be. Not television. Not sermons. Not press releases. Not newsletters. Not podcasts. Not web sites. Not even Twitter.
As we begin our conversation about how to navigate today’s media landscape, we’ll look often at various media in terms of their core characteristics. Some of these include:
- Immediacy (How quickly can it get the information out there?).
- Carrying capacity (How much information can it convey?)
- Reach (Who can it help you reach? Are they the right people for your purpose?)
- Interactivity (Is it one-way, or does it permit dialogue and feedback?)
- Cognitive impact (Does it appeal to the “right brain” emotions like TV or to the rational mind?)
- Cost-effectiveness (Does it get the job done at a cost you can live with? Do you KNOW what the job is?)