Communication – Then and Now


President Roosevelt in one of his famous “Fireside Chats”

Let’s take a trip back to 1933. President Franklin D. Roosevelt began making informal radio addresses to the American public during the Great Depression. Never before had a U.S. President conducted regular and informal communications to the American public. The President used this format to address the public multiple times per year, and these communications were considered enormously successful, attracting more listeners than the most popular radio shows.

Now, move forward to our current President Barack Obama, who provides his addresses in both audio and video forms, and both are available online via whitehouse.gov and YouTube. The first Presidential candidate to jump into social media with both feet, President Obama connected with the American public on a new level and on a level that today many Americans prefer.

Both Presidents used the communication mediums of the time in new ways to reach the target audience. But who is the pioneer? The communicator or the technology it’s now carried on? We’ve created so many different communication methods over time – from hieroglyphics in 3000BC, to messengers on horseback, to the first electric telegraph in 1831 – the delivery method evolves while the purpose of communication remains the same.

Yet, in considering the true definition of communication – the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions or information by speech, writing or signs – only certain mediums allow for response to the message and closing the loop on communication. The true pioneering may be in harnessing the technology to make communication more effective by breaking down mass media with individualized delivery and mechanisms for feedback.

Want to go back in time? Here President Roosevelt outlines steps the government is taking to speed economic recovery – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXY7TkrPPzI

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