Transportation organizations have important information to share with the traveling public. That’s especially true during natural disasters when maintenance crews and first responders are often the first people surveying damage and assessing the status of infrastructure leading to people’s homes and businesses.
In the transportation communications business there are always two critical questions that should start most conversations:
“What do you want to say?” (the key messages)
“Who do you want to hear it?”(the target audiences)
Once we figure out those two questions, the hard work begins outlining strategies and tactics that we will need to reach the target audiences. But, unfortunately, it is very common for our colleagues to jump to the tactic, without really considering those questions – what and whom?
To remain most effective in communications, it is a good idea to pay attention to what’s happening on the Internet. After all, the societal embrace of the Internet with all of its information sharing and communications power has had a profound influence on society and the ways in which we see the world.
I often cite the Pew Internet and American Life Project for its ongoing tracking of trends related to the Internet and the ways in which we interact on the Internet. Pew Internet is marking the 25th anniversary of the Internet with a series of reports. The first report, published last month, was an overall look at the development of the Internet and its rapid adoption by society. It’s very interesting material and worth digging into.
More evidence was released this week suggesting that the days of sitting-at-a-desk, full-monitor web site experiences are waning.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project published its latest research that shows roughly 63% of American cell phone users access the internet with their cellphones. That translates to more than half of all American adults. And of those who access the internet via cell phones, more than a third say it is the primary way in which those cellphone owners access the internet.
Earlier today I was working on preparing materials for some training sessions and I was reminded of something said by Neil Postman, a very important media critic and social theorist who never lived long enough to see the full development of “cyberspace,” the term used to describe our online world in the 1990s.
Postman answered,”Well, the, the worst images are of people who are overloaded with information which they don’t know what to do with, have no sense of what is relevant and what is irrelevant, people who become information junkies.”