Bridging Two Worlds

A conversation about online media and what it means to your organization

B2W Launch Day

Posted by B2W on August 27, 2008

Post by: Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies

Today is a special day for all of us at Bridging Two Worlds (B2W). While the QUAY and AHA teams have been working together for quite some time now, today is the “official” launch day for B2W. My blog posting for today is a bit longer than usual, but since it is Launch Day, I thought it might be ok.

The online world is busy. While the whole team is online regularly and are always checking things out, I think it is safe to say that I am probably the most obsessed with it all. (Although I do have to tell you that Della Smith from QUAY is a close second!) I think that B2W brings something unique to the marketplace, and that is strategy. The online world is pretty young (someone said that the Internet that we, as the public know it, is only about 5000 days old…) and I think one of the key components that has been missing is a strategic approach to communication online. B2W does that. We understand both the online and “real” world and we know that without a strategy that bridges the two, then it’s just a series of tactics. There is both great opportunity and great risk online. It’s an exciting time to be a communicator and I know that our clients will benefit from our expertise. We’re not new to strategic communication or to the online world. That’s a powerful and valuable combination.

I have been online for more than a decade. As a matter of fact, I can remember as a senior associate at QUAY (I worked with Della and Patsy for a little over two years in the mid-90s), being the instigator of email and a website for the organization. At that time, not everyone was buying into the whole website thing, but they did. I don’t think any of us knew how or when, but we knew things were changing. They “got it” then and they “get it” now.

I was also fortunate enough to work as Communications Director at Vancouver Film School (VFS). I helped to launch their new media program (it has since been split up into several programs including digital design, sound design and I think most of their programs include some element of online media) and through VFS, I got to meet – and have stayed connected – with some of the Web’s best and brightest.

With all of the influence of smart, forward-thinking people, I couldn’t help but be interested in what the online world would become and how it would impact how the world communicates, professionally and personally. I have been online checking things out, seeing what works and what doesn’t, searching out best practices and watching as organizations wade through online media with some successes and some failures.

Years ago, we made a strategic decision NOT to become active online, but to be observers, listeners, researchers – lurkers (that’s the online term for someone like me who hangs around checking things out, but doesn’t participate). Don’t get me wrong, as soon as something new comes along, I am an early adopter, I sign up, I log in, I beta test. We should all take the time to check things out, to try new things, but my role is to see how others use new technology and opportunities. Through all of the new tools and the bells and whistles and the rapid pace of change in technology…one thing remains constant. People want to have a conversation. They want to participate and engage and connect. Organizations have a huge opportunity to reach out and extend their communities right now. They are also facing a huge threat – no longer does the organization control the message or their own brand. That’s now in the hands of the people that are online.

With the click of a mouse, you can reach out to the world with good news or bad. Individuals and groups now have a voice and they are making it clear that they are ready to talk. Our role is to help our clients to understand the online world and how it can fit into their overall strategy, to help them strategically bridge the two worlds.

It will be interesting to see what the next 5000 days will bring.

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