Posts from October 2010
Welcome to our first ravings related to news, information consumption, social media, tools of dissemination, and how all this is impacted by Human Nature. Universal Information Services has created this blog to illuminate ideas related to the intersection of communication fundamentals and new channels of information distribution. Basically, our media analysis and position as a news monitoring service has led us to the conclusion that the fundamental rules of public relations communications has not changed, only the tools we have at our disposal are new (#SameRules #NewTools).
We’ve even chosen to hash tag these two phrases to underscore the importance that social media has on media engagement, media placement, and public perception. It is true, social media has greatly enhanced our methods of communication. But be careful, professional communication by any mode has not fundamentally changed. Therefore our blog will feature postings related to two areas of public relations and communications. We'll also focus on issues related to news monitoring, media analysis, social network influence. From press clipping to TV news clips to web monitoring, our broad spectrum of news monitoring and media analysis experience opens a wide door for discussion.
First, the fundamentals of writing style and the need for compelling content are not new. If you can’t write, spell, structure a sentence, or convey compelling ideas, it does not matter what channel you use to communicate, your audience will remain small and ephemeral. The same basic rules of communication survive today and are only slightly modified to match each medium (print, broadcast, web, social).
Second, how you harness the enormous power of the new tools like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Foursquare is a testament to your ability to apply your skills across the #NewTools. You should be thinking “in addition to” rather than “instead of”. Human nature, as well as common sense, dictates that one should meet their target audience through whatever communication tool they prefer. For this reason all of us need to stop referring to social media as something outside of mainstream media. Never has a new medium supplanted an older medium. Newspapers did not kill discussion, radio did not kill newspapers, television did not kill radio, the Web did not kill television, and social media will not kill any of the aforementioned mediums. The communication pie only expands while dividing into smaller pieces for each medium…growth instead of replacement.
I’m sure some will hold on to the false notion that there has been a complete shift in the communication paradigm. I hope to receive comments that the world has changed as we know it and we will forever be changed. These comments will help prove that no matter what our technical mode of discourse may be, human nature controls how we communicate…and that is fundamentally unchanged.
I am not a writer. You will see an overabundance of commas in my postings and I may not always structure my sentences correctly. Yes, you may correct me if you want, but in the end it is the ideas I’m hoping to spark interest with, not my writing prowess.
#SameRules #NewTools represents an extension of the media research we do here at Universal. This blog is for the “engaged community”. This does not mean only those who are social media savvy, but anyone who understands that humans create content and humans consume information. Those who fail to consider human nature when creating tools are doomed to repeat history by creating solutions that are DOA. There will be little acceptance of their #NewTool because they have chosen to ignore the importance of the #SameRules.
Future topics include: Niche content and The Long Tail, The Importance of Compelling Content, and an answer to the “Who Cares” question (ROI).
To balance my prior posting (Top 3 Reasons To Attend Conferences #NewTools), and an important point on its own, I believe one should not make a career of attending conferences. Over the last three years we have observed the emergence of those who are on a quest to be the most well educated person working in the new media/social media space. This effort is great when balanced with effort and output. But, when one simply makes a career out of attending meetings and conferences without pausing to create and further the initiatives of their company or client, it is largely wasted time and money. Agency and corporate communications personnel are equally susceptible to this problem.
We’ll call these offenders “perpetual attendees”. You’ve seen them. They have been to all the hot meetings, have collected the free swag on their desks, and are able to rattle off names like Shankman, Scoble, Vaynerchuk, and Evan Williams like they are close friends.
The aforementioned guys are very likeable, knowledgeable, and have brought much to our evolving media landscape. But the relationships most have with them are no different than my friendship with Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway…The Oracle of Omaha. I’ve seen him several times, been at arms length to Mr. Buffett, but we don’t “know” each other. Am I better for seeing and hearing him talk on finance and investing, for sure. But I don’t see him speak every time he’s available. I gather nuggets of wisdom from Mr. Buffett, and then apply them to my business and personal efforts. Similarly, industry conferences and learning opportunities work to impart nuggets of information I can apply to helping my clients or colleagues.
So, when deciding if I should attend a conference, for me it comes down to common sense (#SameRules). Will I learn something new or be inspired in a way that will benefit news monitoring and media analysis service, my clients, or my work/life balance? Can I improve our press clipping or web monitoring service? Am I free for the dates of the conference without any other true obligations? If the answer is “No” to either of these questions, then I will skip the conference and catch a different one. Basically, am I going to learn something new AND use what I learn? If not, skip it. That’s the good thing about conferences; there are so many opportunities if you just look. See the links on my prior post for some good sources of meetings.
Leave your comments about your number one reason for skipping a conference. All theory and no application does nothing for your company or clients. If you’re not adding value in your position, there’s somebody out there who will.
The conference season has been in full swing over the past 30 days, as if it ever really slows down, and we have three great reasons you should make conference attendance a regular part of your business and new media education.
First, if you at all have a passion for your job or what you are pursuing, then continuing education must be a part of that path you follow to success. Nearly every industry, and variation within industries, has some form of a meeting where you can learn new tricks, rub elbows with peers, and hear from experts in your field. My news monitoring and media analysis industry has no less than five opportunities per year. I can attend PRSA, IABC, NDS, and even Rotary conferences...and many others. All of these opportunities allow you to further yourself in your position. Whether CEO or intern, gaining new perspectives is an essential part of fully realizing your potential. Here are a few resources I use to find helpful conferences in my areas of interest.
http://www.bigomaha.com/ (don’t let the name fool you, this may be the most important conference you ever attend)
Second, if your success depends on your own creativity, then attending industry meetings and conferences allows you to get outside of your own head. At Universal Information Services my primary role is to envision, create, and deploy new services for our clients. I have implemented all of Universal’s TV and Radio monitoring, media analysis, and web monitoring services…but only through the insight I’ve gained from my pears throughout the industry. Developing services in a vacuum can be a dangerous path to believing all that you dream up is of great value to others. Interacting with competitive and cooperative peers exposes you to ideas that help keep your own mind in check and accelerates your own development.
Third, the ability to connect the dots may be the greatest benefit to attending conferences. I refer to connecting the dots as the ability to hear new ideas at meetings and conferences, but hearing them in a way that connects with a seemingly unrelated concept you may have rattling around in your head. This is critical to innovation. I use The Action Method, developed by Scott Belsky’s mind at Behance, to help me manage my ideas and visions This should be mandatory training for anyone with a creative thought.
Leave your comments on what conferences you have found the most beneficial. I’m always looking for better ways to get outside my head and connect the dots. Many of these fun ideas are found in our new site.
Next post: Number 1 Reason to Skip A Conference
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Total News Tracking has created this blog to illuminate ideas related to the intersection of communication fundamentals and new channels of information distribution. Our media analysis and position as a news monitoring service has led us to the conclusion that the fundamental rules of public relations communications has not changed, only the tools we have at our disposal are new (#TheNewsTracks).