Technology corner: Print and online finally join forces

Why is it that communicators separate all traditional media from their new, experimental online media?

In the minds of many communicators, the Internet is segmented from other media and held to a standard separate from other communications. This segregation of the Net is evident in marketing-oriented Web sites that bear no relation to broader marketing efforts, the lack of a communication strategy for the use of e-mail, and confusion about how to handle derogatory word-of-mouth on discussion groups.

True, we are beginning to see some rudimentary convergence of communication tools notably print and the Web (and, by extension, intranets). These usually take the form of a print article that includes a reference to a related Web site. The CEO’s address to shareholders is covered journalistically in the company magazine, for instance; a URL is included pointing interested readers to the complete text of the speech. Magazine advertisements routinely include the address of the company’s Web site. But so far, that’s about as far as it goes. It should go further.

That point was driven home to me in a recent experience that bounced seamlessly back and forth between the world of paper and the digital realm.

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