After completing this week’s readings, briefly address the following question:
Q. Strategic communication is both enhanced and diminished by the globalization of communication. Arguments could be made (1) that global communication is more localized through stories, or (2) that localized communication in made more global through flows. Using your preexisting knowledge of strategic communication from our program and your professional experience, select an example that supports one of these arguments. Then, in your discussion post, use your example to make one of the two arguments above, supporting it with information from your readings this week.
As the world becomes increasingly connected and as messages become easier to transmit worldwide, communications invariably change. New messages, audiences, and cultural frameworks allow communicators the ability to voice their thoughts in ever-expanding ways. Still, despite strategic communications’ global reach, people continue to depend on local contexts for meaning. Far-flung messages only find significance by becoming part of the local story of a community. This notion becomes especially clear in the months preceding midterm and presidential elections as candidates seek to brand themselves and create wide appeal. A single, united message is important, but that message alone will not be successful; it gains relevance as it is integrated into local storytelling and specific, community-based contexts. When candidates fail to consider how their messages translate into the diverse localities across the nation, they lose the investment of those communities. Voters want to feel like they know the candidates and what they stand for, and they want to contextualize the high stakes of a national or state election into terms that are familiar, into stories that make sense to them. If candidates cannot become a part of the narrative of the community, they cannot capture the hearts, minds, or votes of the people.
In a hyperconnected world, every moment brings the potential for thousands of competing messages. No human could possibly make sense of even a fraction of them. Instead, people pay attention to what feels immediate, what seems important to them and their lives. This egocentric focus, however, does not necessarily suggest a lack of engagement with national and global issues. The opposite, in fact, is true; people are increasingly connected and concerns with events that impact others even across nations and beyond borders. To do so, however, they reframe these events in a more personal, localized way. Hamelink (2015) asserts that “the local framing of global news is paramount and global events thus become local stories” (p. 9). This localizing of global news becomes the heart of people’s engagement with far-reaching events and messages and explains the billions of dollars that political campaigns invest in targeted communications. Living in a constant state of connection inevitably means that people will sacrifice privacy for expediency and interconnectivity. Users’ willingness to remain perpetually online gives campaigns access to unprecedented data about the social, political, and consumerist tendencies of voters. These campaigns then rebrand their candidates by coopting local stories and then distributing those stories through targeted advertising. As a result, they can tailor their messages to individuals and fit their national brands into local contexts. Similar to presidential candidates’ need to be seen taking part in the Iowa State Fair, campaigns have come to rely on data-driven messages that they tailor to local sensibilities and narratives.
The Internet and the proliferation of social media have also allowed communities to become less dependent upon geography. Now, people can connect with others based upon mutual interest irrespective of proximity. Wei (2013) notes that access to mobile phones “confers instant membership to those who are poorly social-connected in a community (p. 52). They do not have to be isolated by their lack of participation in local communities. Instead, they can seek out new communities centered on shared concerns. This creation of new publics means that users’ abilities to reformulate global messages into local stories is greater than ever before. People are becoming more aware of global communications and more invested in global concerns; both of these are the direct result of their increased willingness and ability to retell stories in local, personal terms.
Hamelink, C. J. (2015). Global communication. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Wei, R. (2013). Mobile media: Coming of age with a big splash. Mobile Media and Communication, 1(1), 50-56. http://doi.org/10.1177/2050157912459494
**USE “Hamelink, C. J. (2015). Global Communication. Los Angeles, CA. SAGE Publications” AS A REFERENCE**