The Future of Communication

I recently had the chance to encounter a very telling situation about the modern world. A presenter was talking about how the college age generation (the future employees of IT and business) was moving away from what he called “old style web pages”. That is full web sites and pages overloaded with content and information that requires someone to commit time to actually “reading”. The preferred communication approach for the upcoming generations is rather the “text” or “tweet”—140 or so characters of information or knowledge spun into the universe as snippets of data, information, knowledge and wisdom. Older generations are capable of producing such ‘text bites” of knowledge, but generally see them as links or parts of a much bigger activity called a conversation. For the future those “texts” and “tweets” will be the whole conversation or story: beginning, middle and end in 140 characters or less. It brought to mind the importance of coupling existing knowledge management with new or various modes of communications.

To prepare IT groups or departments for the future, we must be able to understand that a process like Knowledge Management cannot work while isolated from a process like Communications. Best practice teaches us that processes and ideas do not exist in vacuums. All best practice processes are related to all the other best practice processes; even if that interface is just feedback or acknowledgement of an input or piece of information. The two must work together. We must use effective communications to bring data, information, knowledge and wisdom to the right place or person at the right time in order to make informed decisions or choices.  

The same holds true for more traditional modes and newer modes of communication. Both are important aspects of getting a message or idea communicated to an audience. We should not dismiss older modes or forms of communications in favor of only using newer, more technologically advanced methods. Each has its place and usage and appropriate audience.
We should also not forget that the message itself is just as important as the vehicle or medium of delivery. An old saying still applies: Garbage In, Garbage Out. If we feed poor data, information, knowledge and wisdom to an audience, we will get poor decisions and choices from the audience.
The world has and still is definitely changing at a fast pace. We should understand the changes and look for effective uses of the new approaches while continuing to understand that those changes stand upon an older foundation of methods that may still be applicable in the future.  


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