Image credit: Special Collections,  University of Houston Libraries , via Wikimedia Commons

Image credit: Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, via Wikimedia Commons

The most generous word I could use to describe the current state of media is "fractured". It's not that all audiences have turned solely to social media and that traditional media is dead, but it's that everybody has an almost dizzying array of options available to consume entertainment. And while some demographics may prefer certain channels (you won't find a lot of teenagers in Facebook or watching the local evening news, for example), if we want to reach audiences we have to go where they are.

What compounds this is the challenge to create meaningful, impactful educational and inspirational opportunities. It's relatively easy to, say, pour tens of thousands of dollars down the drain of a social media campaign, and that campaign will generate clicks and likes and shares and "engagement" in the narrow sense that advertisers care about.

But it may not be the kind of engagement that we care about.

We can't discount the power of personal interactions. That precious moment when you have someone's full attention, can look them straight in the eye, and get to share something wonderful about the way the world works. Seeing those eyes light up with awareness and true understanding for the first time is the best form of storytelling and education. Social and traditional media are powerful too, yes, and we must use them to push to new and broad audiences - often because there's a slim chance they'll come to us without encouragement. But in our yearning for clicks and shares, we shouldn't forget the human moments that make our mission possible...and fun.


Comment