Choosing the right communication channel
By Martin Hollmichel on Jul 26, 2006
Here's my answer: Please think about how to get best your target audience involved and then choose the appropriate channel which fits the purpose and you are able to deal with.
Think first about your problem you want to solve with your communication and choose the right channel. In our OpenOffice.org world we have to deal with different content we have to communicate and various communication start and end points. Examples for content may be:
- questions and answers
- Employees of a company participating the OOo Project
- Members of an OpenOffice.org Project
- all members of all OpenOffice.org Communities
- OpenOffice.org Users
- the rest of the world
- and many more like managers, committees, etc.
So it might be obvious if you seek advise during your debugging session that you do not choose the channel "TV" but a personal meeting or a phone call. Or the other extreme, if you want to do some advertising to increase the amount of OpenOffice.org users, you will probably do not choose the channel "phone calls" but a "TV Spot". It not too difficult to put a list with good examples together:
- Reference Documentation: -> Web Pages
- Guides and FAQs: -> Wiki
- Proposals and Discussion about them: -> Mail/Newsgroup
- Questions: -> mail/irc
- write something intesting with unclear communication end point: -> blog
- ask for more money: -> personal meeting with your manager
- ... endless list
I often heard that people tend to prefer privat communication instead of doing this in public. They want to have quick confirmation for doing things right and it is much faster to get this in a personal talk than writing a mail and waiting for responses. In many case you will not even get response on mailing lists. I think it is understandable but not the point. But it is not the point, we need to get all stakeholders involved for any issue regarding the specific project. So the primary issue is not that we need to communicate almost all communication on public channels, but to involve all concerned parties. This usually will result that this is somehow done on public channels but the main point is to do this on the right channel.
Our starting point was "why we want to use one more medium (blogs) ?". There was the question how we can attract more developers for participating in the OOo project. One of the answers was that we need to make OOo more interesting in technical aspects. We found that project specific articles might increase the common interest in OOo. Doing this in blogs seems a appropriate way for doing this: You are able to reach not already subscribed people and the effort for doing this via blog is reasonable low.
Further readings: Social Software