Messaging vs. Communication

September 20, 2009

Our business is communications.  But that doesn’t mean we want to communicate.  Really, we want to send messages.

Maybe we should call our business “messaging.”

Messaging is sending controlled communications to targets.  Communicating suggests some dialogue with feedback sought and responded to.

Our control of the message is particularly apparent in public relations.  When we see an interview with a media trained client, we take satisfaction in getting them to stick to the agenda, make sure we get the points across, hit the message points.

But the use of messaging takes the content out of communications by revealing only what is desired by the sender.  I am sorry to see politicians being trained in our disciplines so that they

We hear that the times when politician go “freelance” and improvise in an interview it is the first death knell of their career.

But our desire to focus our commercial messages are not the same as interviewing journalists, if any remain in existence, probing for information from our leaders.

Instead of communication, we get messaging.

The same happens on the news.  Instead of news, we get promotional messaging from the network, plus a few obvious new items.

Our industry should be ashamed at training politicians to do this.  But it is really a symptom of the blurring of the lines between commercial messaging and general communications.  Who knows where editorial starts and commercial begins anymore.

Can we regain communication?  Or is there too much to economic risk for honesty and spontaneity to creep back in again?

Or are we left with quality investigative journalism that reveals the truth about the weird creature discovered in Panama.Panama Creature.jpg

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