The Changing Nature of Information
What is information? Where do we get it? Whom do we trust as a source? How is it communicated?
These are very basic, fundamental questions to which the answers provide a moving target for communicators. I can remember trying to find news on Operation Desert Storm, and that I could count on my fingers the number of media outlets from which to obtain such information. Compare that to today – In just 20 years, the nature of information has made a complete evolution from being a scarce commodity to an abundant, competitive consumer product.
The number and types of information sources available today are both unprecedented and exciting. PR flaks used to sit around the metaphorical pickle barrel with newsmen and women and decided what the public would know the following day. Today, news organizations are constantly scrambling in the 24-hour news cycle in order to compete with the blogosphere and user-driven social feeds. And instead of waiting for a radio or newspaper to cover a topic of interest, consumers simply Google the topic for instant information.
For communicators, the evolution of information has completely transformed the basic premise of our profession: how to communicate a strategic message to a target audience. The answer to that question used to be simple: cozy up to the news industry and spoon-feed your audience by getting a placement in one of the limited number of available information outlets. Today, it means realizing that consumers have control over what information they are exposed to, navigating the complex market for information, and creating an appeal that will entice your audience to consume your information.
In today’s dynamic information age, where the consumer is in control, are you changing the way you communicate with your audience?