The Changing Art of the Conversation

When I was in high school 20-some-odd years ago, the only way I could really speak to my friends was directly, live and in-person (or close to it). We met face-to-face at school, the mall or various other places teens gathered. We talked on the phone (like many others, I had a second line in my house) either one-on-one or over a party line. Regardless, we actually spoke to each other.

But the method we used for communicating was dictated by the time of day and where we were.

Around that same time, online bulletin boards started becoming popular, paving the way for e-mail. This was the beginning of the change in how we conversed. We shortened our statements, because it was easier to say it than to type it.

Coming out of college, e-mail started spreading even more with America Online, and cell phones were semi-affordable. Now we had more choices. If we wanted to speak to someone at that moment, we could call them. It didn’t matter as much where we were. If we just wanted to send a note, we used e-mail, which still was limited by our location and access. But we could do it in the middle of the night, and it didn’t matter.

Fast forward another 15 years, and now we can communicate with whomever, whenever and wherever we want. We can call, text, tweet, e-mail, comment or feed to our friends. And we can do all of it with a lot more friends than we ever had before.

There’s one major difference, though. We are no longer having real conversations. We are shooting out bursts of information, random thoughts, reminders. All different kinds of stuff.

Advances in technology allow us to reach many more people quickly and easily. We have new vocabularies. In text messages words look much different than they sound.

And who knows what comes next.

Delivering relevant content to people 1, 3, 5 or 10 years from now is going to be different than it is today. The art of the conversation is changing (some might argue it is going away completely). It’s neither good nor bad, I suppose. It just is. We are well into a 24/7 interactive world. I don’t see that changing. What it will look like is another story.

Think about your marketing content. Think about your audiences. How are you interacting with them? How do they want to interact with you? Does your content match their needs?

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