Make room for the message
Before you bear the barrage of online messages, make sure you know what yours is first.
If anyone ever suggested that the web was going to be a unifying force for effective communication, they didn't reckon on the reality of low barriers to entry for every man and his dog with a fresh take on how to help us communicate with each other. That's why most of us have heard of Twitter but not the other 100 plus also-rans vying for our attention. So part of the problem we have to face is the sheer fragmentation of methods to communicate. At least with email and the web it more or less follows an agreed set of standards. But beyond this we are faced with literally hundreds of online communications tools, forums and platforms making it hard to keep track of what's being said, by whom, when and where. Not much fun if you want to keep track of what's being said in the real time ebb and flow of communication. But that's the challenge we're all faced with every day. Every one of us is now a connected customer with just as much of a voice as anyone else. The outcome is that, rather than aiding effective communication, businesses that are seeing the web becoming more important to their success have to race to react to every negative meme that makes it into the wild. It's akin to trying to hold water with a sieve -- you don't have enough fingers! And the answer? Well, perhaps it's to not try to answer every critic with an axe to grind, but to ensure that your own message, backed by action, is clear and consistent. In a world of communication confusion your first, most important act, is to ensure your own message is out there. Only then can you take on the challenge of deciding which conversations you want to join.