This phrase is the epigraph to EM Forster’s 1910 novel Howard’s End, and it encapsulates both the emptiness of English society he was writing about and the capability the Internet gives us today. Yesterday I spoke at a meeting of IABC Wellington, which is a place where people who communicate for a living come together. The subject was social media – that’s wikis, blogs and so forth, and should communicators look at communicating through them? The answer I gave, as you might guess, was a resounding “yes”.
The Internet is the ultimate communications tool – using the term “communications” in its widest sense – and anyone who communicates for a living needs to be following it as it evolves. And evolve it is: social media on the Internet will drive as much of change in the way we communicate with each other as the introduction of the Internet did, and as the printing press and broadcast media did in their day. It’s good to see many communications professional getting this.
Another speaker at the event was Todd Hattori, the global chair of the IABC. He is a master communicator – as you might imagine – and I am in awe at his skills. As well as the “whether” and “how to” of social media, Todd spoke about ethics in communications. And I think he is right to – there is a stereotype of misleading PR spin, which is sadly justified on a few occasions, and Todd and the IABC are seeking to make such behaviour unacceptable. Good on them.