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The Medium is the Message

In her article published in Disrupting the Function of IC, “Medium, Message and Technology,” Catherine St. Onge, Manager of Global Employee Communication for Air Canada takes us back 60 years to the wisdom of the oft-quoted Marshall McLuhan: 

“Over 60 years ago, in 1964, Canadian professor and philosopher Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message,” in his book Understanding Media: The Extension of Man. The idea being that the medium, or what we, in internal communications often refer to as channels, inevitably embeds itself in any message it conveys. This theory, or concept, holds true today given the abundance of channels available to internal communication professionals, and how they directly influence both the content they carry, and the strategy and tactics employed.”

While Professor McLuhan’s famous phrase has been repeated in many different contexts over the last six decades proving one point or another, there has never been a time in recent history when this particular message has been so relevant.

Catherine and other authors writing for Chapter 3 about the “Impact of Technology on the Profession” unanimously conclude that mobile technology is everywhere and the use of mobile phones to stay connected is growing at unprecedented speeds. There is no denying the use of mobile phones as a primary employee communication channel.

Sia Papageorgiou’s insights in “Coping With the Digital Revolution” offers compelling statistics:

  • In 2015, the Ericsson Mobility Report estimated over 2 billion smartphones were in use worldwide. They estimate that’s going to make an enormous jump to 6.1 billion, or 70% of the global population, by 2020 and that 90% of the populated globe will have high-speed mobile data coverage by then as well.
  • Yahoo Flurry estimates that around 90% of people’s mobile time is spent in apps as opposed to mobile sites. They also estimate that app usage grows by about 11% year after year. As they put it: It’s an app world. The web just lives in it.

The workplace is no longer a physical space occupied by employees during office hours. The ability to work from anywhere, and at any time, has changed the way we do business, as well as the way we communicate in and outside the organisation.  According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the US mobile worker population is expected to account for nearly three-quarters of the total US workforce by 2020, and manufacturing, construction, retail and healthcare workers are inherently more mobile. The same industries are expected to see faster growth in their mobile worker population than other markets.

This means one thing: go mobile, or go home.

The shift to mobile technology for employee communication is not a fad. It’s a trend, and like all trends those who get ahead of the curve are those who stand to gain the most by way of measurable business results.

DevFacto Technologies creates software that humans love to use. We created our premier employee app, Sparrow, in response to a need for clear, consistent, timely, relevant communication in our own company. The app enables employees to self-select topics of interest, comment, post to their own social media accounts and use emoticons to express their opinion.

On the front end, Sparrow makes employee communication an engaging user experience. But in the back end, the industrious little Sparrow works hard to provide analytics that no other employee app on the market can match. Sparrow tells you who’s read what, whether they read or simply scroll, whether headlines are working or not, when news is read and how employees, both office and remote staff engage with the messages. All this adds up to one critical advantage – research that informs internal communication strategy. And smart strategy informed by research drives business results.

Isn’t it time you got on the leading edge of the new digital revolution? Sparrow can get you there fast.

DevFacto is a proud Gold Level sponsor of Disrupting the Function of IC, a compilation of global insights on internal communication. This publication is a must read for business who want to create employee ambassadors that influence positive business results.

We invite you to get the whole story from Catherine St. Onge, Sia Papageorgiou and 28 other authors who believe as we do that great communication can change the world.

Download Disrupting the Function of IC

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This post was originally written by Claire Watson, ABC, MC.