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Digital media’s unpaved road

13 Jan

I get asked often how I would handle a situation in an organization that uses a smattering of digital media. The easy answer would be “It depends.”

Not to be facetious, but it not only depends on the passion and the inclination to wade into the confusing digital communication environment (using strategies around incorporating Slideshare, Twitpic, AudioBoo, MediaWiki, UStream etc).

It depends on the people on your team who have an appetite for this. Not everyone feels comfortable in this environment. I sometimes talk of one of the most cynical team members in an organization who has become a pro in using digital media. His concern (“I don’t need to know what someone is having for lunch” – a famous knock on Twitter users) was that it might be  a waste of time for him and the organization.

It helped that the organization thought differently, and it was my job to inspire him and others like him to take this unpaved road. Watch how Sean Smith, became a citizen reporter out of Vancouver, using nothing more than an Android phone. And yes, he began tweeting too, but not about his lunch menu!

Welcome to the discomfort zone!

If you’re in media relations or marketing, or even if you’re running a department that has nothing to do with PR, that road beckons. It’s still rugged, and may never be the smooth ‘superhighway’ we were once promised. But the traffic is building up.  No you don’t have to be a pro at producing videos, or writing blog posts. (That’s why citizen journalists have become such an essential part of the news cycle.) But you and your team do have valuable knowledge that’s worth sharing. “Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department,” someone –perhaps Seth Godin–once noted. Ditto for PR and customer service. Ditto for content creation, and digital marketing communications.

Welcome to the unpaved road.

Stop worrying about the technology, and start thinking of participating.

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