Cyndi’s Two Cents
Communications during COVID-19
Has the reaction to COVID-19 changed the way you communicate? Most of the farm broadcasters on the Brownfield team work out of home offices and have for years, so we have not done any major “shifting” there. Although we are used to talking to farmers and newsmakers on the phone and through social platforms, we are not used to those being our only means by which to communicate with them. We miss covering actual meetings (not the virtual ones) and visiting farmers on their farms.
Communications defined is “a means of connection between people or places, in particular.” That connection made only by the written word or face-to-face communication not so very many years ago can now be made using dozens of gadgets and ever-changing technologies.
Instead of calling someone on the phone to schedule a meeting, we can send a text, email or instant message to that person and take care of our business without picking up a phone or getting out of the office chair where we’ve been planted all day. Using Skype, Zoom, Twitter, text messaging, Snapchat, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Facebook and a whole bunch of other social media tools available today, I can reach out and interact with almost anyone at anytime, anywhere. Groups of people from different time zones can meet and interact online in a virtual setting without ever meeting in person.
As an agricultural communicator, these tools have played an important role in how we deliver the content we create to the persons who want and need to receive it. People go a lot of places to get their news and information today. In addition to the tried-and-true formats (radio, print publications, television) consumers are seeking out e-newsletters and You-Tube videos, Twitter and Friend Feed to pick up nuggets of information.
During this unprecedented time in the history of the world people are hungry for as much information as they can collect. Unfortunately, not all information posted and shared on many social media platforms has gone through a true journalism “filter” and may or may not include an ounce of truth.
I am by no means opposed to the tools of communication available. When the “stay at home” order interfered with our plans to have my parents and sister and brother and their families join us for Easter dinner, I was sure disappointed. However, my siblings and nieces and nephew and I were able to see one another in a ZOOM video call that Sunday evening.
Many of my work meetings today are video conferencing calls using our company platform or one of the many other video platforms available today.
Like so many other things in life, these gadgets and technologies are useful and necessary in the world in which we live today. I have heard many people say we will never go back to doing business the way we did it before we learned what the government sees as essential and nonessential labor/businesses.
Things might change, but friends, please never underestimate the value of a good face-to-face conversation.