So I took assessment of my personal communication models  to do some research on reach. In the process I decided to reverse engineer my path to 2010. I looked at communication for personal and professional reasons. Today I communicate in many ways for different reasons. My purpose for communicating with others is both direct and sometimes general. With so many channels to choose from we have incredible segmentation opportunities. Consistent personalization becomes a challenge as more channels are created.

Here’s how I communicate in 2010:

  • Interpersonal: In person, face to face communication is always the best.
  • Email: Today email is critical but also a chore at times to maintain and organize. Has become CYA dropbox. Simply put I’m getting to hate email but know it’s a vital communication tool.
  • Social Networks: I’m a daily user of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook in that order of preference and frequency. This is where direct and general communication is happening in real time in my community.
  • Phone: since everyone is emailing, tweeting, posting status messages and other online communication, talking on the phone is becoming passé. Phone is being used mostly for conference calls, family communication and when I need to talk to vendors. Also a phone call needs to be used when you need a decision made and time is critical.  The fundamental shift is now that all my phone/voice communication is on a mobile device.  I no longer have a home phone.
  • Texting: Use only with those who prefer this as a channel or for time sensitive communication. I’m not part of the texting generation and don’t have a texting plan.
  • Fax: Use less and less, mostly for signed contracts or forms.
  • Paper Mail/Shipping: Decreasing usage but now when I get mail I’m more interested and specialty giveaways from companies can be good inspiration at times.

Going back 10 years to 2000:

  • Interpersonal: more frequent as most people worked in the office.
  • Email: Still a new communication method at this time and was gaining ground, not near the volume used today.  Most of the older executives did not use email or understand it so you had to talk to them in person or leave them a note.
  • Phone: I spoke more on the phone then and called people for important conversations that today are on email.  Most of the voice conversations were on a landline.   Mobile calls were still pricey and network coverage sucked.
  • Paper Mail/Shipping: Newsletters, collateral and other paper mail was still going strong.
  • Fax: This was the end of faxing era. My company actually had a faxing service to fax newsletters at the time.
  • Memo/Personal Note: widely used for cover notes to paper mail or sales/PR kits.
  • Chat/IM: this was the new kid on the block. Used it a few times to learn how it worked. Found it to be annoying more than useful most of the time.

Going back to 1990:

  • Interpersonal: Everyone in my company worked at one location. If you wanted to get to the point you could walk over to their office and stand in their doorway until you got an answer, or leave a note.
  • Phone: There was no email so the phone was the primary communication to those outside of the office or co-workers that were travelling. Cell phones were pricey at that time so calling cards were gold. Answering machines were our best friends.
  • Paper Mail: Huge volumes of paper mail and printed magazines, journals, etc. I was the marketing grunt and had to actually do internal clipping service of all incoming periodicals.  I even attended direct mail seminars to learn how to design my direct mail pieces.
  • Fax: This was the new revolution in communication at the time. I was just starting to understand how to use a fax machine.
  • Memo/Personal Note: Memos ruled the day for internal corporate communication. And since you had to print, copy and distribute you made sure you got it right. Otherwise you would have to spend an hour or two correcting the mistake and all the miscommunication that followed.

I won’t go back farther than 1990 for two reasons. The first being is that I graduated college in 1990. The second is that I think I made my point. Not much changed between 1970 and 1990 other than the first PCs but they did not communicate with each other unless you were the kid from Wargames.

How has your communication model changed over time?

Brian McDonald

Brian McDonald started Square Jaw Media to document strategies and techniques he had used over his experience working in marketing and communications since 1990. During this time Brian wrote about many of the exciting Raleigh social media events where great knowledge was being shared and tries to share some of the tips and tricks. . Read Brian's full bio.