Howard R. Debs, The Blogger returns!

carlsandburg156024

I’m actually an optimist, but I’m heading the same way Sandburg did.

I’m back, occasionally.

Yes, for those who have missed me during my ramblings, for those who have yearned for more erudition about the things that matter most, I am back to post! Hey, that rhymes. Which is appropriate, since one of the many errands that took me away from this mission to explicate on the verities and related matters, was my penchant for  creative writing and determination to hit the literary trail. As The Little Einsteins say at the end of an episode, “Mission completion!” (yes I actually watch and enjoy The Little Einsteins); the mount of literary publication has been reached and you can go to a separate page on this site to see a selected list of publications graced or soon to be so with my presence. But enough about me.

This site was and is devoted to advancing the art and science of communications.  Now, in posts to come, I intend to expand on the subject matter to be covered, using this bedrock principle as a measure for all that appears here: if it can contribute to better more effective communication, private or public, it shall be admissible.

So thanks for allowing me back into your virtual hearth and home, I will try to make my stay pleasurable and productive. Stay tuned.

Advertisements

Thoughts upon entering hiatus

This blog regrettably will have to rest on its laurels  for an indeterminate period,  until it can be  resumed at the level of quality expected for its readers. Being engaged in a variety of major enterprises for the foreseeable future precludes adequate attention being paid to this blog for the time being. Microblogging or what has  been characterized as “mindcasting” will continue unabated on Twitter.

Considering that the majority of pieces posted here, regardless of the passage of time,  deal indeed with the verities of that which constitutes effective communication, it is hoped that they will remain “evergreen” and worthy of your perusal until the blog returns to active status.  Adieu, sine die.

Timing isn’t everything

Posts on this blog often deal with the news of the day, but not necessarily on the day it’s news. First, a reminder as to why a blog devoted to all things related to effective communication would spend time – at any time – addressing current events. It is because “culture” and “communication” are inextricably connected as I wrote in a previous post –https://communicatorsandcommunications.com/2009/03/22/culture-and-communications/.

I stated there, “I endeavor to address the matter undertaken from a communications perspective.” So, most of the time, I take the time to analyze the news story involved to ferret out its implications and meaning from this point of view.

For example, since my intent was to consider the communications aspects  beyond the storyline itself relating to the comments of President Obama in connection with the Gates arrest incident, (see previous post titled: “President Obama and language used stupidly”) the post I finally issued was days after the nationally televised press conference at which the comments were made. Time needed to pass to let the public and media reaction occur and to assess the consequential happenings.

I am not looking to be first, I am looking to be insightful, to help shed some light on what is happening, by trying to interpret what has occurred focusing particularly on that area – communication “effect-iveness” – which constitutes the reason this blog exists.

Now this approach is not popular in today’s frenzied 24/7 cable news cycle. Our “news” must be New, with a capital “N”; we have been encouraged to automatically conclude that the more timely a published item – whether in the blogosphere or the traditional media –  the better it must be; we identify the actual number of minutes since a post, a comment, a news item has been issued, assuming that if it’s “old” it must be stale (what about fine wine?) – and we do indeed measure “old news” in minutes nowadays. There is no allowance for or acceptance of  time for reflection, and so much of what starts out as thoughtful often turns out to be shooting from the hip, and later gets recanted or revised. There is definitely a call for quick assessment, but there is most definitely an urgent call for some careful consideration.

This post is a statement of position on the matter of timeliness. I pledge that this blog will treat many of the important issues occurring in our midst as they arise in a manner befitting the portfolio of this blog and therefore, by definition, not necessarily when they arise, the better to see the forest in spite of the trees.

https://communicatorsandcommunications.com/2009/07/29/timing-isnt-everything/

Bookmark and Share

The Gypsy Kings and Dr. Seuss

The Gypsy Kings is one of my favorite musical groups. They perform rumba flamenco,  a musical form indigenous to the Catalan region of northeastern Spain and southwestern France.  Never heard of them you say? Well, they have a wide audience alright, (selling over 18 million albums) but in a sea of such expanse as THE GLOBAL ECONOMY how does one define “wide”? One definition, “Large in scope” (from the Wiktionary entry: “wide”), leads on to another – what do they mean by “large”, and so on ad infinitum.

Which brings me to Dr. Seuss, who used a pseudonym by the way,  just like some in the online new media of today. His real name of course, Theodor Seuss Geisel. Of his many wonderful children’s books, the one on point for this occasion is: Horton Hears a Who! For those unfamiliar with the story, I refer you to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horton_Hears_a_Who!

Basically, Horton, an endearing elephant in the jungle, seems the only one capable of hearing the inhabitants of the city “Who-ville”  who live on a tiny planet comprised of a speck of dust. For the purpose of this post the important point to note is that: “In the end it is a ‘very small shirker named JoJo’ whose final addition to the volume creates enough lift for the jungle to hear the sound, thus reinforcing the moral of  ‘a person’s a person, no matter how small’.”

So now, let’s cite some stats. Technorati, the be all – end all for blog info tracks around 112 million blogs at this point (from “The History of Blogs” in The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging)! So how can any blog ever hope to have an impact, let alone an audience? Which brings us to audience profiling. Who in “Who-ville” is the blog really trying to reach? That answer defines the “universe” (size, total number) of the intended audience, which may very well turn out to be only a handful. So evaluating effectiveness of “reach” (a media advertising term which in essence tries to quantify by numbers and/or percentage how many readers/visitors from the intended audience any particular blog in this case is actually attracting) is the important consideration.

The Complete Guide to Blogging states:  “There may be 112 million blogs in the blogosphere, but only 7.4 million, Technorati tells us, have been updated in the last ninety days.” So close to 94% of the blogs out there are essentially dormant.  That narrows things a bit!

Thus, the moral to this story is “an intended audience, effectively reached, signals success – no matter how small”.

https://communicatorsandcommunications.com/2009/03/23/the-gypsy-kings-and-dr-seuss/

Bookmark and Share

Culture and communications

It has occurred to me that some visitors to this site may ask why there are posts covering the news of the day, matters involving politics, popular culture, etc? What is the relevance to a blog dedicated to communicators and communications? Before plunging ahead, let me assure you that this post is about as technical as this blog gets. One of the guiding principles for this blog is that: it shall be generally understandable to all who seek to gain from its information. This is carved in stone. So bear with me on this one, because in order to make the point, I have to get “technical”. Here goes. 

There is, first of all a hint in the name of the blog itself. “Communicators” are individuals who have messages to transmit in some way, through media, public speaking, and so forth. By and large I am using the term to refer to those who have a public presence in this regard, for example say, President Obama or Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (more to come on Mr. Geithner in a separate post).

Now one of the accepted definitions of “culture” is: “an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning” (taken from Wikipedia, keyword: “culture”). So “culture” and “communication” are inextricably connected.

In fact, the basic premise of the bestselling text MediaMaking: Mass Media in a Popular Culture is that: “mass communication cannot be studied apart from the other institutions in society and the other dimensions of social life – each is shaping and defining the other.” (quoted from the Amazon.com editorial review of the book). My position is that this applies to communications in general, and this theory, if you will, is paramount to a basic understanding of communications overall. In every post, I endeavor to address the matter undertaken from a communications perspective.  That’s as it should be with a blog named “Communicators & Communications”. We now adjourn sine die.

https://communicatorsandcommunications.com/2009/03/22/culture-and-communications/

Bookmark and Share

Marshall McLuhan revisited

We’re going to mention “packaging” a lot, “The manner in which something, such as a proposal or product, or someone, such as a candidate or author, is presented to the public.” (from answers.com) with emphasis on what should be considered in trying to appeal to the INTENDED audience, which it often turns out is not necessarily what appeals (appearance-wise or otherwise) to the one generating the communication; this determination – what is it that most probably will appeal to the intended audience –  should be the first order of business in calculating a communications approach in all cases;  I would strongly urge that anyone striving to be an effective communicator start with Marshall McLuhan, if you haven’t already, because his conception of communications  is one of the pillars upon which all effective communications strategy should be based.

For example McLuhan said: “People don’t actually read newspapers. They step into them every morning like a hot bath.” Here’s another one, after the manner of McLuhan: People don’t actually read blogs. They jump on them coming and going like a bullet train.

https://communicatorsandcommunications.com/2009/03/07/marshall-mcluhan-revisited/

Bookmark and Share

%d bloggers like this: