New Media and Bottom Up Communications

Call it participatory communications, interactive communications, or something else entirely: whatever you call it, there’s something new going on, and it’s definitely multidirectional. It’s about not just communicating to but communicating with or among. And new technologies may be driving the change. But does multidirectional communications mean giving up control of your message, or make you just another voice in the crowd? Not really, said a communications expert. New media technologies can help grantees and foundations advance change by expanding the “base of participation, in terms of who your messengers are.”

A foundation supported journalism program hosted a conference at which each session had a live Twitter stream of questions and comments projected on a screen behind the presenter. The grantmaker sat down with the conference presenters and bloggers in advance to think through how the Twitter stream would work. They came up with ways to address audience expectations and get the comments flowing. “When you’re doing new things like this,” she explained, “you have to make it clear that risk-taking is acceptable. Not everything is going to succeed.”

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Communicating For Impact.