Communicating with customers, shareholders and other stakeholders has taken on a whole new level thanks to the internet.
Being able to directly identify and communicate with a target audience, via blogs, social networking sites and other web-based sources, gives businesses, and their stakeholders, so much more power.
Public relations expert and theorist James E. Grunig devised that there are four models of public relations which, put simply, are propoganda, public information, one way asymmetrical and two way symmetrical.
Basically, an organisation can listen to or ignore its stakeholders. It can communicate with them or talk to them.
Clearly two-way symmetrical communication – in which an organisation evolves as a result of stakeholder influence and impact – is the fairest and most desirable role. And it has now become easier than ever to achieve such communication.
Utilising the internet and the web to directly connect with stakeholders opens a world of opportunities for companies and organisations – if they are willing to take the chance and delve into the world inside their computers. Many generation X or Baby Boomer managers are still perplexed by the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace – there is a lack of understanding why people would want to put their lives on show for anyone to read, why they don’t just pick up the phone to communicate with their friends.
But once you delve into the world of the internet – the millions of blogs, websites and networks – it can be quite overwhelming. There is a whole world in there that individuals can feel lost in. Joining Facebook or setting up a MySpace page is a way of staking out a claim in that world – like building a home. It’s a visable sign of your presence. And once one house is built others join them, until your own little community is visable and recognisable amid the chaos.
Globalisation continues to erode our physical boundaries – communities are not what they once were. Consequently, people continue to turn to the internet to cement relationships and find their place in what is both a smaller yet more complicated web-widened world.
There is a passage in The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini that I would love to quote right now but the book has disappeared from my bedside table (I’m looking squarely in the direction of my two toddlers with a level of suspicion bordering on accusation, or I would be if they weren’t in bed/watching Spot).
To paraphrase it – “Leave two Afghanis alone in a room together, come back in six minutes and they would have worked out how they are related”.
This phrase came to mind this evening as I was doing a bit of work on the Renmark Hotel’s new Facebook page (how’s that for cross promotion).
This morning I was chatting to a person on Facebook, who I had come across on a Facebook group and invited to be part of the Renmark Hotel group. Afterwards I had a better look at her profile and knew she looked familiar but couldn’t quite place her.
So I sent a message asking if she happened to work at Maccas in Renmark – and she replied she did and asked if I was the “large vanilla chai with skim milk girl”.
Chai – bringing the world together once again.
Globalisation brings us some truly great developments – like being able to pick up a chai latte from Renmark Maccas early on a Thursday morning.
I visited India for three months in 2002 – my husband lived there for 18 months and the rest of his family were there for up to 10 years – and still remember the cries of hawkers on the trains: CHHAAAAAIIII, CHAAAAIIII, OMALET, OMALET (sic). At that time I had never come across chai – now it is everywhere.
It’s a bit like dukkah, which is a bit like George’s pesto rant in The Busboy episode of Seinfeld:
(Jerry, George, and Elaine are all eating at an Italian restaurant. George hasn’t eaten anything)
ELAINE: Do you want some of mine?
JERRY: Take some of mine.
GEORGE: Why do I get pesto? Why do I think I’ll like it? I keep trying to like it, like I have to like it.
JERRY: Who said you have to like it?
GEORGE: Everybody likes pesto. You walk into a restaurant, that’s all you hear – pesto, pesto, pesto.
JERRY: I don’t like pesto.
GEORGE: Where was pesto 10 years ago?
I know where chai was 10 years ago – in the thermos of thousands of Indians yelling CHAAIIII, CHAIIII as they travelled around the sub-continent. But I’m sure glad it’s here now – even if it passes only the most minimal of resemblances to its authentic spicy cousin.
Posted in General
Tagged Busboy, chai, coffee, Elaine, George, Globalisation, India, Jerry, latte, maccas, McDonalds, pesto, Seinfeld