Communication (and the President-elect)

I love it when leaders embrace communication and new technology. It’s so important to communicate regularly with people, and it’s time to look at how we communicate (is television the only way a President can address a nation?). So along with weekly addresses that will be distributed online (and other places), Obama’s team also has a blog where they’re already sharing news and updates.

Leaders know that vision leaks. You have to continually present a plan and direction. In times of crisis, it’s important to stay visible – to show your team is at work and you have a plan. It seems like Obama is doing just that.

Regardless of what you think about his politics, Obama’s plans for communication are exciting to watch.

(Now, if they can just lower the camera a little for future updates, we’ll be golden. Compare the shot to typical interviews on television. Too much head space makes Obama look small – like a little child. Zoom in a little and frame the picture!)

3 responses to “Communication (and the President-elect)”

  1. I don’t know if I am as hip on this as you are, Jon. To me, though communication is more frequent, I worry it will become diluted. I know the President typically gives a radio address and few listen. But it is precisely this reason, that when a President speaks on national TV, notice is taken and usually all three majors and PBS pick him up. The lack of frequency helps it to carry more weight.

    A metaphor/simile. It is like Tom Clancy. When he wrote a few great novels, he rocked. Then he started co-writing a ton of crummy stuff and it lessened the weight of his novels.

    It is my same argument against the medium of blogs for any real discussion of weightier philosophical matters. The medium is too transient. A better medium is published books (for numerous reasons). If Obama starts twittering, I’ll weep.

    I will post more thoughts on this on as I don’t want to be the forever commenter.

  2. Great point Jordan. I think I’d lean toward frequent, short communication over longer, less frequent communication, though – as long as there’s something worth saying.

    I just think that fewer people watch the long Presidential addresses now – even when they’re less frequent. We rely on the news bytes and clips to summarize what was said. Less communication doesn’t seem to raise the importance.

    Living on a college campus, it was interesting to see that (some to many) students were incredibly invested in the election, but most of the ones I saw didn’t watch even one whole debate.

    I may be wrong, but I’m guessing more would be willing to watch a 3-minute youtube video on something they think is important. It will also stick around – it can be forwarded to friends or posted on blogs.

    So maybe it’s not the frequency that matters (though I still think there’s something to it – as long as it doesn’t have the Clancy effect of watering down quality). Maybe it the medium. Maybe that’s the most important part of it – the long tail. It sticks around and can be passed along.

    Oh, and you should check out this article. Looks like Obama will be the first President who has to deal with giving up a Blackberry…

  3. […] My friend, and great communicator, Jon Sampson recently posted on his excitement over President Elect Obama using YouTube. […]

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