I think most everyone knows now that Hillary Clinton has announced her candidacy for president - shocker, eh??
I don't want to talk about politics here but just thought that the way she announced illustrates how communication has changed in our world. In other words, I'm not discussing her message, but her methods. It's worth noting for all communicators, and Christian communicators ought to pay attention.
Before sharing my observations on this, think about what is happening here. She is running for the highest office in the land, she "in it to win," and this announcement is a key first step. I am sure she spent thousands upon thousands of dollars and thousands upon thousands of (wo)man hours, using the best minds in the communication and marketing business to come up with this launch. Whether or not it turns out successful for her remains to be seen, what is noteworthy to me though is that some of the best and brightest in the communications business seem to think this is the most effective way of getting the message across.
1. An internet launch as opposed to mainstream media launch.
Hillary's different from you and I - the mainstream media pay attention to her every move. She could have announced anywhere and anyhow and the media would have gotten it. But she chose to announce on the internet, not a press conference or rally. This shows the power of the internet as a communication tool.
That's not to say that us nobodies can expect the same kind of response in our attempts to communicate on the internet that she got. But it is also to say that this is becoming a, if not "the" primary communication medium of the day.
Mark Batterson of National Community Church in Washington says that blogging, podcasting and vodcasting have been keys to the ministry at their church - we need to pay attention.
2. A "Vodcast" not a "Podcast," and not a blog entry.
There is no doubt that blogging and podcasting are key communication tools in our day, and that there is plenty of word based communication flowing from Camp-Hillary. But that is all supplemental to the video. Video is the key and it is the direction communicators of all stripes, and churches in particular, need to be moving toward.
Hillary says that she is not just starting a campaign, she is beginning a conversation. Ah, very postmodern, very emerging culture she is. And I'm not picking on her for this - it's a very wise communication strategy.
Let's be honest - she doesn't want to walk away from this campaign having had some good conversations, making new friends and feeling warm and fuzzy. She desperately wants the White House.
But she knows that the way to win people to her point of view is to converse with them, not pontificate to them. Yes, yes, I know, there will be plenty of subtle pontificating going on throughout the campaign - you can see it here. But she is making her campaign an interactive journey, not just a stump-ing journey.
4. You're in control, not her
I think one of the genius parts of this is that by going on the internet she puts the viewer in control of their own experience. In other words, the viewer doesn't have to be sure to rearrange their schedule to be in front of the TV at a certain hour. They can watch Hillary on their schedule, not hers. It's a very empowering thing.
5. Everyone's an insider
Typically, such an announcement would occur at a press conference or a rally where there would be a few hundred people watching/listening and the rest of us would have a degree of separation in that we would watch the announcement on our TV's at home, far away from where the action is.
In this case, everyone, except for the campaign staff and production crew, has the same degree of separation and the same degree of closeness. Everyone is an insider. The rest of us aren't watching her speak to someone else, she is speaking directly to every one of us.
6. In a home, seated on a couch - not in an office, or standing at a podium.
It's an egalitarian communication strategy - a conversation among equals, not a speech from someone on a stage. Even though this thing was probably rehearsed and staged to death, it comes off as a homey, interactive thing. It gives the feel that you are being talked to, not talked at.
7. Informality vs. formality
Even though she is dressed and coiffed very well, the setting communicates informality over formality.
I am sure there are many other things that could be pointed out, and I am sure that I may be making too big a deal about some of the things I have pointed out here.
But as someone who has a calling to communicate a message, these things cause me to pause and notice - they show what the best minds in communication think communicates best to people today.
For me, the upshot is - communication that communicates best today will make the best use of technology, will be more conversational than pontifical and will prefer informality over formality.
Your thoughts? And, as you share your thoughts please remember what I said at the top - I am interested in methods here, not message. I know that Hillary inspires a wide range of reactions and emotions from supporters and detractors. But that's not where this post was headed - this is really about communication more than politics.
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