How can a communication channel increase complexity?

Pep Guardiola in DC
Pep Guardiola in DC (Photo credit: braveheartsports)

Any communication channel can be a source of complexity as it has associated uncertainty. But, as in many other things in the life, the best way to analyze the proper way to manage them can be look at the nature. If most things in life are competitive, why do we think that human societies must not be competitive? If competition was antinatural, why were we interested in promoting the Olympic Games? Why were we talking about the last football play on Monday?

There should be a consensus about the natural characteristic of competition, although there can be a disagreement among the different options that the play must reserve for the losers. Current age is not the Roman Empire and companies are not gladiators in a circus, then, putting a thumb up or down should not imply the difference between living and dying.

In the pre-networking world, people got their news from newspapers and television channels. Some of these organizations were independent in an economic sense. They got their incomes from the users, although today their business model is more centered in the advertisers every day. Although in both cases the news providers have always a dual task: to inform and to make opinion, when the model moves from users to advertisers, the second action becomes preponderant. We can see every day that a mass media with a certain set of political ideas or values is totally different to a mass media at the service of an organization as a political party. In the former case, it transmits its own values although they can be coincident with a political party but in the latter one it is an armed arm of another organization.

When you have worked with the communication department of a large enterprise you can understand well that a group of professional journalists can provide value to the society shaping the brand and the corporate image of the company, and collaborating to create the internal culture of the company without provoking a war in the markets. They only provide corporate news, processed following the professional method of any good journalist.

Searching for the natural way to process information in an effective and efficient competitive environment, we should take a look at the communication process in a large competitive company.

As many new things in the company are provided by innovation, the innovation and communication departments are usually linked. The link usually is the innovation manager that must analyze the information that can be interesting for the markets in his activity and be the initial source of information for the internal journalists. The role of the journalist will be contrast the interest of the information with the senior directorate, to elaborate a communication plan with the innovation manager and his team and prepare the press releases and other information material with the innovation manager that must be usually approved by the senior directorate. Finally, a well-done piece of news reaches the markets, and stakeholders, included the political environment, get their news.

In the process, that we can consider natural because it has been done in a competitive environment, the piece of news is provided by the expert, the journalist contrasts it and diffuses it. But, what happens in the social networks? Social networks are oriented to another process that is very different.

Social networks as twitter are oriented to repeat and resend a message if the receiver considers it interesting. This is not good or bad itself. As in any other kind of technology, what can be good or bad is the way as we use it and not the technology itself. A scheme similar to the natural one commented previously can be useful for reducing complexity, but a different one can become an extremely big source of it.

In general, social networks are working following the opposite way to the natural corporate communication channels. Instead of following the natural way of getting news from the expert source of a company or government to be sent by the journalist towards the shareholders and political environment, the main journals provide pieces of news that, in general, come from the political discussion. Then, they are sent by someone that, in general, is not a journalist or manager to a group of experts, and although the experts comment the result, the processed information is flawed at the origin if it must be useful for the economic activity.

Better uses of social networks are demanded, this is one of the reason why the new role of community manager has arisen.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s