A table for two

Why Crowds and Conversations, well the idea comes from The Cluetrain Mainfesto, markets are conversations.

When you think of the internet, do not think of trucks of widgets, destined for distributors…think of a table for two

This statement implies closeness, a relaxed informality.  From a corporate communications perspective it’s a style used in engagement or to engender trust.  Over the course this blog I will be considering this concept.  Instead of the physical crowds and face to face conversations of the real world, I will be immersed in online communities and online conversations.  But, how different is it really? We are social beings, we like to swap stories, share tips, congregate – it’s human nature.   At a basic level, is it a conversation that swaps physical proximity with a technological connection or something more?

Up to now, with the exception of email and skype calls, my real world experience of new media has largely been as tools with which to pull information from or something that someone else in the team does.  This month has been a personal new media revolution.  In the real world I have swapped comments with at least three random strangers (I don’t actually keep count) and clicked to follow at least 30 people on twitter – revelation number one, it’s surprisingly addictive!   In the interest of science I have traded in my old Nokia 1680 for a HTC Desire revelation number two, accessing the web from my phone, why did I wait so long!

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22 Responses to A table for two

  1. Melanie Thompson says:

    I think online conversations are completely different to those that take place face to face. Some aspects of our responses are visual so you lose this information and you only receive a delayed or considered response rather than immediate response. I think online conversations take place at a lower social level. They are good for sharing information though, especially if you are inarticulate. This is a very interesting topic. Good luck with it!


    • Anne Dyke says:

      Dear Melanie
      Thanks for your comment and perspective. I would agree that while some aspects of our responses are visual like nodding our head when we agree with what someone is saying, this is not necessarily lost in all new media. Video calls/conferencing are an example where we would still pick up these cues. Your point about a considered or delayed response is valid to a point but in my experience many users of new media do respond instantaneously for example via text or twitter. Lastly, many would agree with you that there is a lot of gibberish written. However, there are many platforms for knowledge sharing that are pushing technological and scientific boundaries and adding to intelligent debate or consultation.

  2. cpurnell says:

    Just a quick note to say ……..Well Done Anne for taking your first step into blogging. Great first post too. I’m still setting mine up and wrestling with WordPress. I look forward to your future posts

  3. Adrian says:

    The addictiveness is the scary part. It is easy to become addicted, and I find the most addictive thing is the amount of people to follow on twitter… for every one person there seems to be another eight, and this thirst for knowledge keeps me going, following people I don’t know, have never heard of, and will never see in my, and who I will probably never Tweet, but for some reason i find them interesting enough to want to read what they are saying. My thirst for knowledge grows. But I always wonder, why aren’t I having these conversations with my friends? Have I suddenly realised that I don’t have as much in common with my friends as I thought, and actually are these new people I’m following becoming my new ‘friends’.
    Good luck with your blog, look forward to the next installment.

  4. Judge Jon says:

    I see new media as serving a purpose in practical and technical terms, helping me to get a job done. Aside from that everything else is a distraction, or trivia. I would rather build relationships down the pub!

    • Anne Dyke says:

      Dear Jon
      Thank you for your comment. What I take from this is that you suggest some groups of people use new media on a ‘need to’ rather than ‘choose to’ basis. It is an interesting thought, a lot of data exists on age demographics of new media users but I can’t say I have seen the equivalent research around occupations of new media users or research on users that ‘need to’ versus ‘choose to’. No doubt someone will tell me if its out there.

      The only other thing I would say it that while change is endemic across every industry for those of us working in PR, Media, Advertising the rate of change seems far greater. One way of keeping up with new technology and ideas on how they are being utilised is through following the blogs/twitters of industry leaders and experts – though now I reflect on that does it qualify as a need to or choose to activity?

  5. Chopper Harly says:

    Good choice of Phone, Good to see the older generation embracing new media.

  6. corinne150pr says:

    My choice of mobile was based around four factors: size (has to fit in a small pocket for dog walking, battery life (has to be good), price and ease of use …. I wanted a phone that makes calls and sends texts. But now I’m beginning to wonder whether it wouldn’t be easier to have one appliance that does it all, so to speak! Good luck with this blog …

    • Anne Dyke says:

      Thanks 150
      Still loving my new HTC I have dowloaded the wordpress app so that I can have a direct link to approve and reply to comments etc from my phone. I think it could prove invaluable for this assignment. The only downside is the shorter battery life.

  7. Claire Farfield says:

    I think there is a massive difference between the atmosphere of a face to face conversation and for example a blog, especially in terms of honesty. In a face to face conversion there is always an emotive angle to consider so a response may not be given if it would strongly disagree with that person’s point of view. However, with online conversations the atmosphere is far more clinical and to the point; disagreeing can be achieved in just the touch of a few keys and you don’t have to apologise!

    Good choice with the phone I also have an android and getting my emails through where ever I am is great- I will never look back!

    • Anne Dyke says:

      Dear Claire
      Thank you, you provide a very valid point. When we are talking to someone we can often tell from their expression if they are confused or have mis-interpreted what we are saying and explain ourselves. I would also tend to agree that when using new media, particularly if it is a word limiting environment we are succinct in making our point. However in terms of honesty I would argue that a blog can be honest and I hope that my ‘authentic’ voice comes through in this and future posts.

      • Claire Farfield says:

        Yes Anne I do agree that online blog posts seem to be far more honest than face to face conversations. The downside though, I think, is what you touched on when mentioned interpretation. I think, unfortunately, undertones, sense of humour, sarcasm etc can be ‘lost in translation’ of text. But generally most people try to be clear and post back if they are confused which again is the useful honesty. So I think the speed of a online conversation can be much slower. But like Miss Thompson said above this is very useful for less articulate people – actually like me!

  8. BOng says:

    The Internet does open up our world and ‘talk’ to strangers that we would probably not meet in our lives. Posting up comments or ideas in blog spheres and social networking sites is a great way of getting your message across and sometimes the speed at which it spreads can be like wildfire! It is great to hear that you are enjoying your time with this. But like you said, it can be addictive!

    P.S: I’ve got a HTC Hero. Go Android!

    • Anne Dyke says:

      Dear BOng
      I could not agree more. The facility to talk to someone on the other side of the world and exchange knowledge and ideas is one of new media’s greatest strengths and equally presents some of the biggest challenges, particularly in terms of crisis communications. Thanks for your post.

      • Claire Farfield says:

        This is interesting. I do not use Twitter but I read an article about it a couple of months ago which said some police institutions are considering using twitter for crisis communications after a massive traffic incident took place in Germany and hundreds of people were more quickly informed and aware of the situation etc through Twitter than from the news and other forms of non-social media. Could you tell me more about crisis communications in the form of social media Anne? Thanks

      • Anne Dyke says:

        Thank you Claire, keep following and I will post something for you later in the month.

  9. 007scorpion says:

    I enjoy much of missing articulate pleasantries using digital communicate brings. Our lives are often filled with this during the day and let’s be honest there are those we would happily avoid.

    Using ‘modern media’ means I can search for my direct question ‘how to use my printer’ and get the right answer without the pleasantries. It’s quick and gives me time to get back to living life. Further, sometimes I leave a post to say thanks and it’s marked against the post boost the online creditability of the writer, a ‘pat-on-the-back’ that’s public instead of private (win-win). How often are we thanked in private? too often.

    I also have to say that modern media engages with more people in a wider range of subjects than we would typically come across – because everyone can add ‘their two cents’ without thinking too much it can lead to garbish on the /net /blog /wall etc but…it means that some of the questions and comments submitted by children in the classroom are finally given a place in the adult world, without the: judgement, boundaries or expectations face-to-face traditional communications bring. Further those traditional communications found in our normal lives are built on complex relationships which may not warrant or permit the odd subject delving or silly question we wish to learn and share.

    good blog/thread Anne. Hope your masters enables your ambitions.

    • Anne Dyke says:

      Dear Scorpion
      Thanks for your post what I take from it and what I am starting to take from this thread generally is that use of new media is largely driven by practical and purposeful reasons. Conversation more akin to a stand up, over the counter, type interaction than a sit down, across the table conversation.
      Your comment on children using new media to ask questions is insightful. It suggests that some children would rather search for an answer on-line rather than risk feeling silly or self conscious in the classroom. Maybe empowering in some ways, but I wonder, does it build the confidence in the same way as putting your hand up in class? It generates a whole new set of questions outside the field of corporate communications but interesting all the same.

  10. black flatfoot says:

    Dear Anne

    I am curently studying communications and searched to find some relevant evidence for my coursework. I came across your blog and have found it really useful to see the diversity of opinion given-thanks for that and will use the information. I find the comments from Melanie particularly intriguing, as my own perspective is that her generalisation of “online conversations take place at a lower social level” is totally wrong. Comms is a complex area and has various degrees of richness associated with the type of communication. Indeed media richness theory has shown that there is an optimal fit between the information richness and the media used. An extension to this then brings in a psychological perspective and how an individual perceives and frames the information. Consequently the receiver’s own traits will influence how the effectiveness of the information is perceived. It has been shown that, eg online messaging is good for idea generation more so than face-face brainstorming. Online conversations can occur at a higher social level depending on what is being communicated, it purpose and the pyschometric influences and biases of the individuals involved in the transmit/receive loop. Hope its OK to reference your blog accordingly in my thesis.

    • Anne Dyke says:

      Dear bf
      Delighted you found the topic of interest, I would feel honoured to be referenced. You articulate particularly well how rich an online conversation can be. The Maletzke model springs to mind in illustrating some of the complexities you mention. Good luck with your thesis.

      • black flatfoot says:

        Hi Anne

        Yes I agree. You are absolutely right about the Maletzke model, it is highly pertinent even though it dates back to the 1930’s. Just shows that even with the significant changes in communications and advent of new media, the salient issues remain largely the same, albeit with a change in the emphasis of the factors influencing communications. Does this mean that our understanding of communications has not really advanced to any significant extent in spite of technological change, or that technology is not the limiting factor for effective communications ? From a corporate comms perspective does this then imply that new technology allows efficient but not neccesarily more effective information transfer?

      • Anne Dyke says:

        From my perspective while communications is still an ongoing field of research, technology is not the limiting factor for effective communications. Targetting specific audiences with specific messages, using appropriate channel(s) is a much more effective approach. Whether this uses traditional or technology driven media. From a corporate communications perspective technology is one tool in the toolbox, to be integrated with and support wider communication strategy.

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