Communication: Looking Forward

11 01 2010

The last decade transformed our world.  Facebook, MySpace, blogs, Twitter, Web 2.0, social media—these tools and concepts turned communications on its head.

social media landscape

Merci, FredCavazza.net!

If we choose, we can each be part of a constantly connected culture, keeping up with friends, family, and colleagues in real time via text, audio or video over the Internet.  Or, we can slow it down and leave messages, photos and videos for others to find at their leisure.

This new-found ability to reach a broad audience with one’s message is exciting and potentially risky.  If you make a mistake and post an update that’s not accurate or simply not what you wanted to say, it’s almost impossible to take it back.  Even if you remove it from your social media site, someone somewhere likely has a copy of the original web page or post.

Consequently, there’s more chaff than wheat out there, and they’re sometimes hard to separate.

Not only has the way we communicate radically changed in a few short years, but the technologies are continuously evolving. Facebook revamps itself, Twitter adds features and removes others, Skype improves, and other social media tools just disappear.

In a year, who knows what these sites will look like, and what new sites may come along to enhance the community?

Remember the big dotcom bust in the 1990s? Companies are smarter this time around. Free and fun are in, but money must be made at the end of the day. Sites explode in popularity, and then fall off the screen as a newer, better model comes along. Nothing is permanent.

Whether you’re a seasoned social media user or just learning the terms and tools you’ve heard others talking about, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the plethora of choices.

While site features and tools are important to learn about, it needn’t be the goal of your social media plan to use every newfangled feature that Facebook or Twitter comes up with, but rather that you choose and use the basic tools that help you accomplish your goals.

It’s about relationships. Are you talking to your supporters? Are they talking back? Are you finding new allies?

It’s OK to take your time and figure out what will enhance your work versus jumping on the latest thing and finding that it’s “all show and no go.”

At PKIDs, we enjoy using social media to communicate with people interested in our causes and goals, and we want to help others leverage social media to their advantage.

What are you looking forward to accomplishing with social media in 2010?

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Scientists vs The Public: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

12 07 2009

A survey came out last week involving members of the public and scientists.  It says that 84% of the public feels that science has had a mostly positive impact on society.

That’s good news—shows we’re not trashing the scientific method.

About half of that 84% cite medical developments as the positive impact:  “The largest share of that group (32% of the total) names medical and health care in general, 24% cite disease research, cures or vaccines and 4% cite advances in the use of stem cells.”

While most of us are yahooing over the science, it has to be said that the scientists aren’t exactly happy about us.

A whopping 85% of scientists say our lack of scientific knowledge is a problem and almost half shake their heads at our unrealistic expectations.  They also say that members of the media kind of stink at educating the public and getting the facts right.  (OK, we’re paraphrasing, but you get the idea.)

There are shocking differences of opinion between scientists and the public and some comforting similarities.

The survey covered more areas than are discussed here and is worth a read.  As members of the public, we walked away with the notion that providing more education in the sciences for America’s youth is a critical next step.

But, let’s not forget communication.

Scientists are more accustomed to lecturing than listening.  It’s not surprising, given the training they go through, but it can be alienating.  They need to learn to have conversations with us.  Listen to us.  And, we need to listen to them.

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