Analog Communications Matter
Many of us have spent a good number of weeks in some type of sequestration or isolation. It is unsurprising that our communications have moved largely online. Our communities are finding new ways to connect digitally as we adjust to more limited in-person interaction.
For the most part, this is great. I certainly have connected online with trainees, clients and even friends and family. But, in our isolation, the people for whom these methods of communication are, for any reason, inaccessible are only made more isolated.
In February, I wrote about the need to not put too much reliance on widgets and apps. I argued that the "humanness" of communications is what makes it most effective. Our isolation does not change that, no matter how useful the apps and widgets are. In fact, I would posit that our current physical separation further emphasizes the digital divide. I am certainly not the only one making this point - it is not hard to find people making valid points about the difficulties that a lack of internet access creates, from people being unable to order necessities to students having no way to connect with peers for online learning.
But what does this mean for the most pressing issue of the day and how public agencies, nonprofits and businesses reach their varied constituencies? It is very easy, when our least digitally connected communities cannot walk into our offices or attend meetings in person or even reach someone on the phone, to believe that this is because they have the access they need and not because they are completely cut off and rendered near invisible to us.
In times like this, we need to further expand our communications methods. I am sorry to say that, for example, online public meetings are not sufficient to get full and robust participation. How can we reimagine in person meetings and input strategies to maintain social distance? What tools do we have at our disposal to reach people who would participate if the option was available to them? Do you have the means to distribute doorhangers to give health information? Can you access bulk mailings? What kinds of analog tools can be used?
Times of challenge and crisis are times where we should strive to diversify and expand our communication efforts. Let me help you strategize ways to have the most comprehensive communication plans possible.