The vandals took the handle

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In 2009 communicators will face big changes

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As another year clicks over, communication faces unprecedented change.

The trend away from traditional media is continuing – and is reaching beyond the big city audiences into regional and even rural areas. A latest global opinion poll showed that while 70% of people still relied on TV for their news and information, the web had now moved into second place, surpassing newspapers.

At the same time, another poll showed that, in a bid to survive the changing environment, newspapers were quickly adopting user-generated content and other traits described as ‘social media’.  Big newspapers are rapidly finding ways to make money from their Internet activities – and even small rural papers are focusing more and more activities on their online pages.

Business and government are moving quickly to adapt this these changes. See my earlier posts about local councils who are using the popular micro-blogging service, Twitter, to quickly and easily get information to traditional media – both online or offline.

However, the ‘social media’ world is increasingly divided. Twitter and friendfeed are seen as the best bets for making money amid the communication changes – and Twitter and blogs are increasingly  the service of choice for government bodies and individual politicians establishing new online communities and audiences – some of which are traditional media bodies themselves. Barack Obama has shown how effective Twitter can be, while the likes of Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd and his Opposition counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, have followed suit.

Other ‘social media’ services such as LinkedIn are specifically for networking among professionals, swapping industry information and finding jobs, especially for consultancy  work. 

And then, there is the ‘social’ aspect of the web, which is firmly locked into services such as facebook and myspace, which allow people to talk electronically and share photographs etc they way they once did with email.  As I recently saw it described rather crudely ..”facebook is for getting laid, while Twitter and LinkedIn are for getting paid”.

So what does 2009 hold in store for communicators?  Despite the gloomy economic outlook worldwide, I’m excited about some of the wonderful uses of social media among government in the UK – and I believe that Obama will greatly accelerate the integration of the Internet into everyday life in the US.  In Australia, we will probably continue to wrestle with inadequate broadband service, but trying to prevent social media conversations from becoming the cornerstone of communications will, I feel, be akin to attempting to hold back the tide.  This, I believe, will be a silver lining to the dark clouds that hang over our heads.

Have an enjoyable and safe New Year’s Eve and watch this space in 2009.



Written by ianandsue

December 30, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Great post Ian – so true. Happy New Year! H

    The Communicators' Coach

    January 19, 2009 at 10:01 am

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