Friday, October 27, 2006

Kafuffle surrounds World Congress on Communication

Is it communication for development or is it public relations? Does it really matter what it is, as long as it is what it is? A fascinating, somewhat irritating, but truly rich chronicle of a passionate exchange on (what I would call..) stakeholder relationship practices.. Peter and Paul have a go..and..Ursula helps shed some light..

I thought I would comment:

Toni, we see here the break between old and new PR paradigm.

These concepts are significant to the constituencies involved. The exchange also demonstrates that we have a lot to lean about the nature of conversational relationships.

Historically, a person would provide a paper and circulate it for approval and comment – and that is what happened.

Now, there is a different way.

What if the paper is made available using any of the many forms of social media. It needs to be in one of the formats that can be progressively opened up for wider consultation, contribution and participation. It can be surrounded by debate and discussion (email, IM, Blog, wiki, Skype conference, meeting, congress etc), progressively it becomes the common property of all active, aware and latent participants.

This is not soft v hard, old v new it is just a way of creating a conversation. It is as old as mankind and as new as the Internet.

Well entrenched and robust views are still available in this model and progressively more evidence, research and resource can and should be added to enhance its value (peer reviewed knowledge added to any property enhances its value). Reasoned consideration can be in the hands of all participants – even the whole world.

The new way needs avail contribution to a conversation among active, aware and latent participants.

The nature of transparency, porosity and agency is the at the heart of this way of doing business.

As it turns out, you posting the papers, is a move in this direction but suppose the debate and discussion used modern communications tools. Would that not be more useful powerful and relevant?

The very fact that the initial paper is an old fashioned word processed document set the agenda.

The medium affected the message as much as the contribution by the participants.

One alternative might start like this: and can then be moved to any number of channels for communication such as as a wiki, word document attachment by email, an email, a web page, a blog post, an instant message or even as (dead tree) paper.

Public Relations is changed but we have to walk the talk.
Ignorance, of course, is no defence when the participants are …… communicators?