Consume Information “Like a Starving Man at a Free Buffet”

Robert Niles explains how to get comfortable with new communication technology for work, use and understand social media, and avoid what’s already happened to some traditional news organizations. His article is filled with good ideas you can start using right away, such as:

The leaders of any news business must be able to understand new communication technology – not simply as an executive, reading reports from an underling – but as a consumer.

He believes everyone should use a smart phone, and mobile web browser, in order to: 1) understand the power and potential of mobile information channels, and 2) get away from the confines of their desks:

Everyone in the organization should have a smart phone, and use its Web browsing capabilities. (This will also help kick reporters off their desks and out into the community, where they belong.)

Niles offers a logical reason why many traditional media organizations offer digital products that aren’t borne of first-hand experience with the Internet:

So why should anyone be surprised when newspaper companies led by executives who communicate via printed memos and land-line telephone calls fail to produce digital products that resonate with their local audience?

As a starting point to fix this, he says phone calls should not be a primary means of communication:

Managers should quit communicating via phone calls, unless they first schedule a call through an electronic message.

Instead, managers should pay close attention to the digital output of their organization, to monitor the quality of information, and make sure that the audience isn’t being overloaded:

A manager should follow every feed that his or her company produces, too. If that’s information overload because you’re producing too many redundant feeds, well, shouldn’t you know that so you can do something about it instead of just turning off your audience with that overload?

This is just part one. Niles published more great ideas last week in part two.

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