Published on April 12th, 2011 | by Rahel Bailie2
Professional Imitates Personal: Adventures in Content Integration
This weekend, I woke with a start in the middle of the night, remembering that I was supposed to respond to someone’s message. In the morning, I tried to find the message so I could respond. Not in either of my two email accounts, which I check multiple times a day. Not in gmail, either, which I generally use for bulk mail (to keep down my data rates, considering how Canadian wireless providers gouge consumers). I thought I remembered seeing the message on my smart phone – could it have been on Facebook, which sometimes send me notifications of messages? It’s not on Twitter, because that’s easy to scan. It wouldn’t have been on Plaxo, because I only use that to keep friends’ contact information updated. Which I also do on LinkedIn, but I also keep up with people who don’t have LinkedIn profiles. But it’s not there, either. Then it’s a stretch: a skype message? Text message? Blackberry Messenger? The possibilities seem endless, and I’ve just wasted an hour looking through a bunch of disjointed services before I discover it, by pure coincidence, in my log of voicemail-to-text messages.
If I had my druthers, everyone would communicate with me via my preferred method and I could stay organized, and I suppose everyone else would appreciate it if I did likewise. But we’ve learned or intuited that the best way to get responses is to use the communication channels best for the other person. For some people, it’s email. For others who never answer email, it’s text. For yet others, a phone call cuts through their clutter. The search for information has become my personal hell, and reminds me of a few years back, when the sudden increase in searching for information sent productivity plummeting. This was the period after email but before tools like Google Desktop and Xobni.
Now we have more communications and content, using more services, delivered through more channels than ever. In the corporate world, we have a similar trend. Email for personal use has slowed now that Facebook and Twitter consolidates a lot of our personal communications into posts, but the use of email is still heavy. But as fast as we can tame one body of content, another swoops in to create chaos. Today’s trend is social media. It has hit corporations hard. Every corporation, group, department, and/or project wants a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, a mobile app, and possibly a FourSquare account. Now there are multiple content streams to monitor, multiple tensions to balance, and lots more content to manage. Those “where did I see that comment” moments are sure to multiply for the corporate communications manager.
The need to integrate content channels is becoming strong, if not urgent. Communicators need a way to view, sort, group, filter, and analyze content. Consolidating content, to be able to analyze topic trends and conversation sentiment, monitor organizational health, and measure communication effectiveness has always been part of a communications process. With so much transitional content popping up (the visual image is a huge game of whack-a-mole, where even two-fisted play with a big hammer can’t keep up), something needs to give. Doc Searls discussed factors in the integration of content, which are points well taken. His discussion is around the technical and industry aspects; what I’d like to see is more discussion about the corporate requirements for the curation of content and how they can be addressed.
As always, I’m interested in a discussion, and would welcome one here.