Let’s begin 2012 coming to the understanding that we, as technology enhanced social beings, are now our own media channels. We have been for a while, yet many still don’t understand this simple fact. Organizational leadership, especially, must come to realize they must put more effort into communicating. Communication is a leadership function and the method for getting things done (more on this later). As social beings, humans do things with words.
Words don’t just describe things, they create things. We create things with words that motivate others to action, educate, and either contribute or detract from our community. By our words we create or destroy, which are you engaging in?
Chris Brogan posted Monday about our responsibility as media channels which makes a compelling argument to think before we speak, post, tweet, update our status. This is the same thing my Grandma used to tell me, sort of. Are you communicating for impact or just adding to the noise? Either is fine when you understand what effect you’re having on your community. Remember the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf?
Something that might help, and an issue I have with Chris’ post, is to understand we are not “consumers” of media. It’s not just Chris, but many, if not most, writers on the the subject of media view communication, information, and media as something that is consumed. It is the wrong philosophical model of what happens when people communicate. My ability to receive information does not inhibit your ability. We must learn to separate the act of communicating from the channel used.
Let’s walk through the process. First, an idea is generated. An idea doesn’t truly exist until it is communicated. The act of communicating gives the idea substance in the physical world. Writing the idea or telling the idea to someone now creates information. The information exists in the confines of the medium used to transmit it; spoken or written words. The act of communicating the idea transforms energy either for or against the idea in the form of human action. Information is the technical process, communication is the human process.
So, you see, we cannot simply “consume” communication, information, or media because the words we use will always create something new, be it good or ill, positive or negative.
Words change things.