Cyndi's Two Cents

Covid’s impact on communication


Did the reaction to COVID-19 change the way you communicate? 

I have asked that question several times since March of 2020 when the world as we knew it rocked on its axis for a bit. Most of the farm broadcasters on my team from home offices and have for years, so there were no major shifts there. Although we were used to talking to farmers and newsmakers on the phone and through social platforms, we were not used to those being our only means by which to communicate with them.  We missed 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, Teams, X, 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 people 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 now seek out e-newsletters and You-Tube videos, and a multitude of social platforms to pick up nuggets of information.

During the Covid pandemic, people were hungry for as much information as they could collect.  Unfortunately, not all information posted and shared on social media platforms did or does go through a true journalism “filter” and may or may not include a single ounce of truth. If there is one thing that became crystal clear during the Pandemic, it is that too few media organizations are doing the research, covering all sides of every story, and looking for truth.   

Many of my work meetings during Covid and yet 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.  

Much has changed since March of 2020. But friends, please never underestimate the value of a good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation. 

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