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September 10, 2008

Viral Communications

In the past 5 days I have heard that our lunch room changed places, that I needed to do a high level presentation for the executive of our client, and my colleague heard that I wasn’t going to be present on the last day of the course I was running.

I also heard that our company had hired a new HR manager, that we had won a couple of intriguing contracts and that there had been changes to how bonuses were paid within our company. Oh yeah,
I found out that I had been promoted too, twice actually, in the space of one week. (Apparently)

In every case I found out either just in time or too late, and every time I found out through the grapevine rather than formal channels.

This is viral communication, or communicating information like a sneeze. One person sneezes; a person next to him catches the viral message and then “sneezes” in the company of other people. And so it continues, right up to when someone infects the person who needs to hear it. (With a great deal of luck...)

Maybe it’s because we are very busy, or maybe it’s because we are all (throughout the industry) communicate so much stuff every day that we get lost in it, but this seems to be a very common way of modern communication.

I mean, this isn’t the first company I have worked for with this habit, many of my clients suffer from it, as people in my network. We neglect to pass important information to people who need to hear it. (I’m sure that even I do it!!)

Has it always been like this or am I just starting to notice it now?

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