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Changes and Trends in Communications

July 25, 2006

I guess they chiseled press releases on stone at some point to promote the invention of fire. Later, parchment must have been sent out to document the parting of the Red Sea.

But the industrial revolution gave us good tools like the printing press and the typewriter, fax machines and let’s not forget the copy machine from the Xrocks corporation which allowed us to mail press releases an astonishing 2 weeks prior to the announcement, embargoed of course.

Then came email, the internet, instant messaging…I’m not going out on a big limb here history wise. Now with the push of a button, bingo – news everywhere.

So what’s the point here? I like to see trends and be an early adopter where possible. There have been times I wait for the technology to stabilize before I expose my backside to any corporate or public lashings, but for the most part, I like to be or know about what the next advantage possible to be gained. I remember using MCI Mail in the mid ’80’s to beat the big companies to the story (then my competition was, gasp – IBM). I was talking to Bill Howard, Bill Machrone and John Dvorak of PC Magazine when it seemed like there were about 25 email users total in the business world.

Despite my daughter’s ability to overwhelm me in Instant Messaging volume, I did use it as a communications tool to reach analysts in the ’90’s before others caught on.

I’ve been beaten to the punch more times than not on new trends, but I give credit to those that catch on before me and I try to learn to do things in a newer better way. Social Computing is such a trend that offers the next new world to those who have vision.

I originally called this the change/death/other titles here of PR, but that will never die, only morph. Those that adopt the new media approach which is happening now, which includes but is not limited to (good lawyer speak there) blogging, podcasting, videocasting, wiki and the various other components of Social Computing will beat others to the punch. (I was later to this game than I wanted to be, but still ahead of many I’m finding out as I beat my head against the wall here sometimes.)

While there was no moment of truth type revelation about why this is, I’ll give Charline Li the credit to why big companies are not always the leaders on this, it requires giving up control. Now tie this into the above stated PR change issue, as control is vital to shaping the message or dealing with the other large major media outlets. The quicker more nimble folks who already embrace Social Computing are moving ahead and larger companies are trying to figure it out and sometimes try to control it. I will say that IBM is conducting perhaps the largest social computing exercise ever right now, but the control issue prevents any details here until it is complete. I hope to blog about it soon, and I hope to start an analyst relations practice/position about Social Computing, send your positive references in now about me as I’ll be canvasing soon for a new frontier that I think we need here.

This is not just a company/industry or PR issue either. Smaller and more nimble analyst firms are leading the way and are way ahead of 800 pound gorillas here.

So I know people who were naysayers to email, IM and other trends and look what happened there. Social Computing will change the messaging capabilities, the way we will work and exchange information and that train is leaving the station, be on it or miss the chance.

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