The Communication Challenge

Today it’s necessary to deliver messages in
several media, or to decide to rely on a few media and not serve the audience
that doesn’t use those media.

Recently as I stood in a line at a meeting a man asked me when UMCom, the organization I work for, is moving to cellphone-based message delivery. He then pulled out his cellphone, dialed into his ISP and showed me how he uses the phone to retrieve information.

In a post yesterday I noted the blossoming of new media and new distribution systems. Technological change is a well-documented fact of our lives today. This creates a dilemma for organizations such as the one I work with. It means we have segments of our various audiences who want information delivered in the medium that they use, which is reasonable. However, it also means that different segments use different media. We are expected to utilize a variety of media to deliver information.

At first glance this might seem simple. In practice, however, it isn’t. It means we must format content for different media to meet different expectations, sometimes at considerable expense. The emphasis shouldn’t be on cost, it should be on the audience’s expectation and use of the information.

Our mission is to provide information that informs, inspires and engages the reader or viewer in a search for a more meaningful life as a person of faith. The challenge is to do this in an environment of conflicting claims, competing media and multiple expectations. When I read the news that I summarized in the post preceding this, I see the challenge laid out very clearly.

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