“Instant” Communications Dominate, But Shouldn’t Rule

On Saturday, with the rain pouring down outside, I came back from an outing with my wife and turned on the television to follow the US Open.  In doing so, I also fired up my laptop and accessed Twitter. There, I was struck by a flurry of updates on the protests in the streets of Iran.  I then flipped back and forth on the television between Fox and CNN looking for updates.  What I found were both networks receiving their reportsin real time from Iranian citizens through Twitter and Facebook.  The rest of the evening showed how these social networks had totally surpassed the reporting of mainstream television because of the instantaneous access they provided. 

This instant  “fix” of news, although not vetted, verified or substantiated with sources, provided an insight into what was going on inside Iran.  With foreign news outlets barred from broadcasting, this was the closest we were getting to real time reporting.

Then on Monday while attending the final round of the US Open at Bethpage, I along with thousands of others, used a satellite radio given away by American Express, which provided instant access to the PGA Tour coverage of the Open on Sirius Satellite Radio.  This radio coverage made the event even more enjoyable for it gave fans an instant perspective into how the leaderboard was changing on the back nine by the shot.  It also showed just how much of a crowd favorite Pete Mickelson is in New York, as every big shot he made was greeted by loud cheers by fans listening in on the radios.

Although watching golf cannot be compared to watching protesters in a foreign country fight for their lives and freedom, it does show the need for instant access to information. 

We are now in an industry that allows us to provide instant communications on behalf of our clients to media and the general consumer.  The key is to use our experience as communications pros to properly vet what is being disseminated.  Not everything is news, despite what a client thinks, and not everything is something that a consumer wants instant access to.  

Tom Cosentino


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