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Ravens

As the entire planet struggles to come to terms with its new reality in the phase of the novel COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve begun to reflect a bit on the ramifications for what it is that we do. It would be very easy right now to pat ourselves on the backs and say something like “your content is now more important, blah, blah, blah”. But that’s not what I’ve been thinking about.

Instead, I’ve been thinking about the communications and messaging I’ve received as I’m bound in my home office, still working but isolated from most contact in the physical realm. I’ve received emails from every company I’ve ever done business with it seems, and if not emails, many of the sites that I frequent has a banner or some over messaging related to the pandemic.

And I’m asking myself, “is all of this really necessary?” Of course, there is a scale here. Do I need to know what steps my bank or other businesses that I still physically visit are taken to address them pandemic? Absolutely yes. This includes store hours, strict enforcement of social distancing, and the use of PPE (personal protective equipment, sorry my wife is nurse). This is crucial communication, and I need these messages reinforced at every touch point. 

The next part of the spectrum includes those businesses or services which occur largely online. I’m thinking of basic e-commerce (Amazon, Lowe’s, Bombas, et. al) and meal delivery services (DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub, and the like), since they involve an actual human packing your goods and bringing it to you. They are just as vulnerable as anyone else. And the steps they take have material impact on me.

And then there are those businesses that I interact with exclusively online that don’t require any human contact. I’m thinking specifically here of those entities whose only product is their content. Of course, I’m happy to know what Vox or the Washington Post or WSBTV are doing to protect their employees, but is it really critical to me? Does it impact how I go about my daily quarantined life? Only insofar as those that are being proactive and good to their employees are more likely to receive my support and business in the future.

I guess the point I’m trying to get at here is that all communications and content are not created equal, and over-proliferation of these messages tends to drown out the really important ones. There’s a lesson to learned here in a post-COVID world too. Think about the hierarchy of communications and messaging. Not all pieces of content are created equal and have equal importance to those viewing them. So, at the end of the day, while the message is timely, doesn’t mean it’s always relevant.

[Update: Just got an email from Delta about retaining my status for an extra year. This impacts me materially (perhaps), even though it doesn’t involve an actual person and social distancing. Call this the exception that proves there rule above. It is still relevant though.]\

*I can never pass up the opportunity for a literary allusion. And they said I wouldn’t use my English degrees.

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Post Author: TCT

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