This comes as an ongoing relief. There are places (still!) where communications tools are debated and discussed and practitioners are concerned with online vs offline tools – the modern PR equivalent of Lilliput vs Blefescu (the islands that argued over whether to eat eggs big end first or little end first). And events and conferences that divide the two.
Finally now, from Matt O’Neill and others comes a conference with the tentative strapline:
‘Online and Offline are dead. It’s just communication’
Or, in Lilliputian terms, "it’s all just egg-eating."
It’s a relief to see serious practitioners coming out of the dark and straightening this up. There is, to my mind, one further step to go in the ongoing work of the communicator – perhaps one for a future event – that maybe even the egg-eating is too prosaic.
It’s a big topic with a full chapter in "Real Communications" that, once I’ve written it, I’ll be posting here for critique and information. But the crux is this:
Most communicators talk about the job being "getting the right message to the right person at the right time." Matt et al go one further with "via the right tool, regardless of the technology." In truth, it’s time to go further. Communication is not about getting information to people or about engagement or about convincing or persuading.
Communication should be about creating understanding. And that’s a whole different level of thinking altogether. Because information, data and abstract messages don’t do it.