The migration from voice communications back to text-based communications is pretty amazing. 150 years ago virtually all communications of any distance (beyond shouting) was done by the written word. Even 50 years, most customer service, any kind of formal business communications, etc. was still done by writing it down. Then we went into the voice age – think 1-800 – where people communicated primarily by talking to one another.
Now we are witnessing a wholesale move back to text. My daughter might make a couple of calls a week on her cel phone. Maybe. She sends between 2000-3000 text messages per month.
This extends of course into the corporate world. Consumers want to interact with companies now by email or social media. They want to express their opinions via blogs.
This has huge economic development implications. I talked with a firm yesterday that has a relatively small call centre-type operation in New Brunswick and they are increasingly interacting with customers via email, blogs and social media. They are also having to write far more formal text than even a few years ago. This is micro-sites for specific products, formal online information about a product or service, briefing notes to clients, etc.
This is just exploding.
For New Brunswick, it means we should be leaning into copy writing as a primary skill taught in high schools, community colleges and universities.
I have been told by a couple of university professors that New Brunswick kids in general are not as good writers because most of them are learning to write in two languages simultaneously. I am not sure of the validity of this but I do know that 15 years ago when we were talking to companies about moving call centres here writing skills were hardly mentioned. Now it is critical.
I took a quick look and I don’t see a single copy writing or social media content editor program at the NBCC. I don’t think there is any real emphasis on on this at the high school level. Once again, New Brunswick will be the last into the game.
If I was the guy behind the curtain pulling the levers and pushing the buttons, I would turn out hundreds of community college graduates with social media content editing skills and I would promote that fact to the world.