by Mindy Wolfle
January 21, 2016
Communication in the year 2016 is instant. How often do you communicate using email, text messaging, email blasts via Constant Contact and other programs, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs…the ways to communicate digitally are seemingly endless as we move through the 21st Century.
Digital communication as a college major is readily available from community colleges, universities and other educational venues.
According to the University of Maryland website, the offering for the major of Digital Communication states, “Digital. Social. Mobile. Communication as we know it has changed for good. Develop expertise in strategy, writing and design for digital media and become an asset to any business or organization.”
With the onset of 2016, I queried several associates and asked them, “As a professional on Long Island, how have digital communications changed your work life?” Their replies are as varied as the world of social media.
Eric Alexander is the director of Vision Long Island, an organization that advances more livable, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible growth on Long Island through ‘smart growth.’ Eric expressed his usage as such: Email – sporadically; text messaging – hourly; email blasts – weekly; Facebook – daily. Although not a blogger, I can tell you Eric’s FB posts are blog-worthy.
Dina Santorelli is a writer, editor, author and blogger. She states, “Digital communications have changed freelance writing tremendously. When I started freelancing in the late 1990s, I was dropping floppy disks off for editors and my land-line telephone was my best friend. Nowadays, email is my primary mode of communication. I may never speak to clients or meet them in person, unless they live locally. As an author, digital communications have been vital to the marketing of my books. Without Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and the rest, I would not have sold as many books as I have. Digital communications have not only expanded my reach as an author, but also my market.”
Roger Kahn is the president of Champion Office Suites, a virtual office company in Garden City. He takes a cautious approach to using social media, when he states, “We communicate digitally; however, nothing beats voice for the richness of the communication and the ability to hear and understand the nuances of what the other party is trying to convey. This is crucial for business communications. We find that for relatively short messages, electronic options are fine. For anything that is more involved, where you really need to interpret and understand what the other party is saying, and/or where you may want to clarify what is being conveyed in a communication, nothing beats the immediacy of picking up a phone and calling.”
A colleague from long ago wishes to remain anonymous, but I think his comments are worth sharing. As an IT professional in the healthcare industry, he is bound by the same HIPAA rules as clinicians when communicating for business. Social media is off-limits and email is highly restricted, with external emails encrypted. While he acknowledges that life would be easier with fewer restrictions on the use of social media, he’s “disconnected” when it comes to vacation time.
As for me, I carry two smartphones, one issued by my employer and one that I use for everything else. My tablet sits in a box collecting dust on a shelf under my printer. I use a desktop computer in my home office as well as at work. I am a devotee (okay, addict) of Facebook; sporadic on LinkedIn; a constant user of Constant Contact; at least a once-a-month blogger; and I make sure everything I write of significance appears on Twitter as well as my other social media pages. I not-so-fondly remember when press releases had to be issued by fax or by regular mail if a photo had to be included. What a pleasure emailing press releases and photos. I rely heavily on email and text more than I used to. But like all good communicators, I know the value of “real” conversations. The digital world has its limitations. After all, we humans have yet to become digital.
Mindy Wolfle, a member of Women Economic Developers of Long Island, Direct Marketing Association of Long Island and the Social Media Association, is president of Neptune Marketing LLC, chief marketing officer of Vishnick McGovern Milizio, LLP, and an instructor of business writing and not-for-profit marketing in Hofstra University’s continuing education program.