Archive for April, 2007

They do communicate differently – Part 2

In light of the tragic events at Virginia Tech this week, I will re-emphasize that our kids communicate very differently than us. Point, officials at VT sent emails to the students regarding the situation as it occurred. To them, that was the most expedient way to disseminate the information. Problem is, email is much like regular postal mail to the kids. They look at it less frequently, opting for text messaging, instant messaging and their Facebook networks. The school didn’t have the tools or the understanding on how to get the messages out.

I have a good friend Rob Sweeney who is the President of a company called TextCaster. He already has a presence at several major Universities including Notre Dame, Ohio State, University of Texas – Tyler. He also has accounts with several major broadcast and print media companies. With this application, the officials at VT could have sent an instant text message to the mobile phones of all students, faculty and staff to alert them of the problem and suggest what they should do. This is a one-to-many texting application that could have saved lives in this situation.

Colleges, Universities and K-12 schools need to get on board now and start communicating in a more instant and effective way in order to prevent these situations in the future.


Social Networks – New ways to communicate

My kids communicate differently than I do! Now this may seem an obvious statement, but as I look at the communications environment they do it differently! My generation uses/used phones, letters, greeting cards and eventually email. Some of us even have ventured into blogging, but not many. My kids use Facebook! I had the opportunity this past weekend to take a 2, 4 hour car rides with my 22 year old son – Jameson and talked about Facebook and how he uses it. My only real reference point is LinkedIn which is a nice connector of people in the business world, but doesn’t seem to be near as robust as Facebook or MySpace.

Jameson says if Facebook would go down tomorrow, there would be a whole lot of pain for the college kids who stay connected through this network. He said, 1% of all Internet traffic happens on Facebook. He stores all of his contact info on Facebook and it is automatically updated by the owner of the information. It’s built around your profile and the networks to which you belong. An example of a network is “Kansas University Students” or “People in the KC Metro area”. As with LinkedIn, you invite people to be part of your Facebook. It gives the ability to keep track of his friends, events in their lives, invite people to events, see their photos and videos, and write on their “wall”. It can be a one-to-one, a one-to-many, or a many-to-many environment. It also provides the ability to “Poke” someone which really does nothing more than remind someone you’re around.

This explanation doesn’t do justice to the way they really use Facebook, but suffice it to say, their communication is different, more varied and more interactive than mine. It’s all about interactivity, networks of people, convenience and control. Instant Messenger and Text Messaging have to play into this discussion as well. I never quite understood how my kids could carry on 10 conversations at a time on instant messenger. I am beginning to realize the power and convenience of text messaging. My 16 year old and I use this all of the time to ask short questions or give notification to each other. Again, convenience. I think it has great implications on various industries, the work-place as a whole, education systems and government entities. Being a Hallmark Cards alumni, I am sensitive to this generation not buying greeting cards like I do. I am sensitive to the future of government communications and how they’ll have to change to take advantage of these new and different ways of communicating. I’m really sensitive to how communication will happen in businesses once this generation begins to move into leadership positions.

Anyone else intrigued by this change?

Adjusting my Focus

Starting now I will broaden my discussions to focus on trends and things I think will happen in the future. Some of the trends and projections will revert back to the ad industry as reflected in my previous blog posts, but most will focus on the use of technology and where it is headed.

For those of you who have attempted a blog, you quickly find out that contributing on a regular basis can be a chore after you’ve exhausted your thoughts on a subject. In my work and in my life, I naturally gravitate to more future oriented solutions and conditions. It’s both a blessing and a curse in business. Clients like to hear about directions and trends, but sometimes the thinking can be too far out to be actionable in an entrepreneurial setting.

I’d like to focus the discussion on upcoming generations and how they communicate, interact, and what will be needed around them to support these trends. I’ll talk about communications, shopping, government, professions and other things that I feel I have thoughts about. I’ll also explore the impacts on areas like healthcare, the work place and schools.

Pretty broad? You bet! I’ll need lots of input to really make this go.

Let’s get a dialog going. What would you like to talk about?


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