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The Hidden Impact of Social Media on Communications

If you’re like me, reading one more article or pithy tweet about the transformative effect of social media might make you puke.

Enough already – we get it!

This is not yet another post about the importance of digital, the rise of content strategy and the value of your online brand.

What I think is more interesting (and much less obvious) is the rather insidious impact that social media has had on off-line communication. To me, that’s the real game-changer: the reality that social media has radically and permanently transformed the expectations of communication, regardless of the channel.

Targeted, relevant and responsive communication is now the default expectation of our audiences. That means that stakeholders grow increasingly intolerant of mass mailings, vanilla, one-size-fits-all messages and slow (or non-existent) response times.

We still encounter clients who explain that they “don’t do” social media, so it’s not really relevant to them. Organizations hold this view at their peril. The game has fundamentally changed, and all that matters is that we are all operating in an attention economy driven by the social, cultural and market norms of the digital landscape. These Top 10 Truths of Social Media might help leaders consider how to shift organizational culture and operations in light of the pervasive impact of our socially-mediated online culture.

For an excellent discussion of the impact of digital on communications and PR, check out this video by British journalist and author Alastair Campbell.


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