The press release is dead!
The blog is dead, long live social media!
Out with social media, in with mobile!
Virtual reality will replace everything!
Sounding the death knell on a communication tactic is as old as mankind and will likely never change.
Today, professional communicators receive an onslaught of messages on how to drive messaging. There seems to be a constant need to validate the up-to- the-moment channel, device, and tactic to communicate with a chosen audience. The “chicken little” proclamations about our role and the strategies we must use (or not use) are both exhausting and distracting.
“Efforts to communicate with others and to deal with the force of public opinion go back to antiquity; only the tools, degree of specialization, breadth of knowledge, and intensity of effort are relatively new.” (Broom, Glen M., and Bey-Ling Sha. “4.” Cutlip and Center's Effective Public Relations. Boston: Pearson, 2013. 74. Print.)
The evolution of communications is nothing new. From cave writing to messengers riding on horseback we continue to change how we communicate. The advent of the newspaper in the 17th century has had a long lasting impact on our culture. Yet, the invention of the radio in the 20th century, very likely had experts declaring the death of the newspaper as a communication tactic. After all, audio brought stories to life and was more interactive than simply reading the paper. Can you imagine the debates and discussion in 1927 when the television was introduced?
With each new invention, there were certainly those who believed that something new, meant something old had to die.
It is true that new tools very often replace older ones. Typewriters and corded phones are examples. While these tools are now rarely used, we still type and talk. If we focus only on the tool we miss the underlying reason any tool exists at all.
The modern communications professional, like their predecessors, must continue to focus on communicating, regardless of the form. In the 21st century, newspapers, radio, and television have changed dramatically but, still, exist. Whether messaging and content is watched, listened to, or absorbed through probes, human beings will always need to communicate.
There will always be a need to tell stories, share information and exchange ideas. Whether content is king, queen or master of the universe, it will exist. The platforms on which communication happens may change, but professionals should not be driven by a platform or specific channel but the people behind them all.
So, read the research, articles and keep your skills updated but remember that your value is in your ability to speak for and to the publics that you are assigned. You are a communicator, and whether you do that through print, audio, or visual medium is far less important than the who at the end of that platform.
Have you ever been panicked by change? How do you handle it? Let us know in the comments!