Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
12.27.2012  
 

Attention Deficit in an Information-Rich World

Adding steps to expedite and improve communications with media can have the opposite effect

 
by Peter Mitham
 
 
phone call email information
 
The growing number of ways to get in touch can make communicating more complicated rather than simpler.
San Rafael, Calif.—One of the most fascinating statistics I’ve heard in the past year (one so fantastic, one wonders how it could possibly be measured) was the claim by Rick Bakas of San Francisco, Calif.-based Bakas Media that more content is generated every 48 hours today than was created from the dawn of time until 2003.

One assumes the assertion’s true (again, how could we measure such a thing?), and the volume of communications we deal with on a daily basis doesn’t make us doubt it.

Between phone calls, email, text messages, the lure of social media (from LinkedIn and Facebook to Twitter and the latest darling, Pinterest), and, if you have time, the local paper, broadcast and online media—perhaps even this website and its accompanying magazine—the tide of data is ever-growing.

And let’s not forget the real-time interactions with fellow staff members, neighbors and family.

A few years ago I spoke with a research scientist at Washington State University who admitted that, yes, he had received my email, but he hadn’t managed to get to it yet. In fact, he had a couple of hard-drives filled with emails he needed to address: years’ worth of them. While the situation might have been dismissed as a case of bad management, it’s increasingly how many of us feel.

“Attention is the new currency,” Bakas told the Oregon Wine Industry Symposium in late February.

While firm statistics measuring our degree of distractedness and information overload are hard to come by, a Google search will yield many studies (ironically), including one reported in Psychology Today earlier this year indicating that students who check Facebook even once in a 15-minute study period perform worse in classes. A column in Time magazine this fall labeled the phenomenon Digital Device Distraction Syndrome.

Working with media
Indeed, the struggle to juggle information is one of the key trends I’ve seen as a reporter in the past five years. While people are theoretically more accessible than ever through mobile devices, the rising tide of information has actually placed more demands on them. Pity the poor reporter on deadline who has to cut through the noise to secure comment.

Of course, some wise people hire consultants to devise or manage communications strategies. It sounds like a smart idea: If there’s a surfeit of work, hire extra hands help to bear the load. But this can backfire, too, either introducing an extra step that delays genuine communication or managing the process so tightly that communication is prevented altogether.

One of the first examples that made me pay closer attention to what was going on happened in August 2011, when I placed a call with a well-known multinational wine company regarding a brand recently launched in the Ontario market.

Calling my usual contact, who was always prompt in answering queries, I was informed that media queries were now being handled by an outside public relations firm. My query was passed through two people to a third person, who, five days after the initial request, promised a response on the sixth day. I had been on deadline, but no matter: another story had come up for which the information would be of use.

Alas, the second deadline also passed. On informing the new public relations rep of this fact, a cheerful response was received: “Glad it all worked out.” But then the punch line, all the more stunning for the fact the firm was hired to handle incoming media requests for an international vintner: “We'll definitely have a process for requests like this very soon.”

Sometimes the process in question is delegated to a single person in-house in the interest of streamlining corporate communications, preventing communications altogether.

And now we wait
Shortly after the previous incident, I placed a call to another major vintner regarding a new initiative undertaken to improve the environmental impact of its operations. The initiative coincided with the vintner’s 50th anniversary and should have been an easy hit for good press. An email was sent; nine days later a follow-up call was made; on the 10th day the call was returned saying email was the best way to make contact. Another email elicited a tightly scripted one-line response from the company providing so little information regarding the initiative as to deprive you, dear reader, of the information you expect writers such as myself to dig up.

And lest this last example seem like a one-off experience; the same vintner has yet to answer a query sent this past May. A follow-up query in June received a response four days later that indicated the request was forwarded to an appropriate division within the company, and that a response would be forthcoming. I’m still waiting.

With a new year approaching, we all need to think about how to manage the demands on our time and attention. I drop the ball myself from time to time and am keenly aware of the need for improvement. If there’s a disincentive to seek comment from sources who don’t return calls in a timely manner, reporters lose trust when we can’t connect with sources and, in turn, readers.

Whether it’s dedicating part of our day to handling emails and text messages (the most effective people I know still do this themselves), or having someone else schedule our responses (my second most-favorite sources ensure that an assistant acknowledges requests and lets me know when to expect a response), staying in touch is more important than ever. While the quality of information changing hands matters, acknowledging someone’s request is just as important—even if it means admitting that you can’t help them.

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
November 2014 $708 million
5%
$7,844 million
6%
November 2013 $673 million $7,428 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
November 2014 $274 million
21%
$1,799 million
16%
November 2013 $225 million $1,558 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
November 2014 127
-5%
226
15%
November 2013 134 196
     
 
MORE » Released on 12.15.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

FEATURES
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • January 7
     
    Putting Your Brand to Work
     
  • January 9-18
     
    Icewine Festival
     
  • January 13-16
     
    VinCO
     
  • January 15
     
    WineFlavor 101B
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Grape Industry Lukewarm on Immigration Act »
 
A band-aid it may be but instead of the negative tone of this article which...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Oregon Wine Institute Plans for the Future »
 
When Mark is involved, things are going to work out just great! We miss the...
Reader: Peter Bell
 
Article: Spanish Cooper Sells Chinese Oak »
 
I would love to find Us wineries using the Chinese oak barrels. Do you know...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Prohibition Laws Linger 81 Years Later »
 
Trader Joe's (Union Square) and Whole Foods (Upper West Side) both have wine shops attached...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Prohibition Laws Linger 81 Years Later »
 
Maybe the economy could use another boost by repealing the post-prohibitionary laws too. Make it...
Reader: csm noble
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Assistant Winemaker
 Prosser, WA
Winemaking and Production
 Wine Club And Dtc Mana...
 Calistoga, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Director Of Marketing ...
 Chicago, IL
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Rep - Kansas Cit...
 Kansas City, MO
Sales and Marketing
 Director Of Hospitalit...
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Skilled Cellar Worker ...
 Santa Rosa, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Public Relations Accou...
 San Francisco, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Portfolio Marketing Ma...
 White Plains, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Midwest Regional Sales...
 Midwest Usa, IL
Sales and Marketing
 Vineyard Manager
 St. Helena, CA
Vineyards
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.