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More options complicate modern-day communications

January 8, 2019

Did the city of Kankakee do a good enough job reaching out to businesses and property owners concerning the plans for improving the downtown portion of Schuyler Avenue?

Here’s the point: You never can do enough when it comes to communicating.

Communication involves two ends. There is the sender and there is the receiver. The sender might feel that he or she has a very clear message. It really doesn’t matter if the receiver doesn’t get it the right way. All you have to do to understand this is to sit in on any marriage counseling session. You learn, very quickly, that communication is the number one problem — even among people who have lived together, day after day, for years.

Then again, the methods of communication have changed radically in our lifetime.

Written communication, a letter, used to be the gold standard. You paid attention to something you received in the mail. It used to be that way in newspapers. Many people would complain over the phone. If a person wrote a letter, you knew they were serious.

Nowadays, the daily mail usually consists of a variety of advertising fliers.

A similar situation exists with so-called mass media. Once there were three or four television outlets in most cities. People had a shared experience. If you discussed last night’s episode of “Dallas,” chances are, many people in the room had seen it. Now there are an estimated 1,300 cable networks. The average American gets 189 channels. We watch alone.

There are a wide range of electronic and social media options. Twitter. Facebook. Email. Yet, unless someone uses the same mode you do, you might as well be sending a message to Mars.

It does not matter how hard you try to send it. If the receiver does not get it, you’ve failed. Don’t blame anyone. Just keep trying.

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