Back in 2011 I first wrote about pervasive communications and how one of the challenges it presented was chaos:
“The challenge now is pervasive communication has become chaotic — the sprawl of communication mediums offer competing, yet similar functions. Conversations now leap among platforms and channels with an unprecedented fluidity — a Twitter update engenders an SMS text which leads to a phone conversation that informs a blog post that points to a web-site viewed on a mobile device which generates a sale in a brick-and-mortar venue – yes, chaotic, hyper-connected, ubiquitous and non-linear.”
When I wrote that I had in my mind a new generation of communicators — call them Millennials or digital natives — who were using communications technology in new and often unexpected ways. Flash forward three years and the picture is more clear. It’s not just a new breed of communicators but an overall trend in communications. The chaos is giving way to efficacy, utility and innovation.
I’ve heard it called multi-channel or omni-channel, but, to paraphrase The Matrix, “there IS no channel.”
It’s channel-less communication.
There was a time where every communications channel had a dedicated device/medium/venue: we made phone calls on a telephone, listened to broadcast voice on a radio, watched broadcast video on a TV, read news in a newspaper or magazine. Today we have convergence. I can read the newspaper on my tablet, make a phone call from my laptop, and have video conference calls on my smartphone. For all intents and purposes I can consume any content and communicate on any channel from any digital device. In the palm of my hand I have access to ALL channels.
In many respects, pervasive communications is order, not chaos.
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