I am posting this in my "Communications Evolution" category, because evolution is exactly what is happening with my work. Today we made two big announcements. First, we launched the Society for New Communications Research, a new international, non-profit think tank that will focus on the broad theoretical and practical implications surrounding new communications methodologies, tools and technologies (see press release here). I have taken on the role as chair of the Research and Publications committee, in which we will be charting the various independent research projects we'll be undertaking as well as developing a new, peer-reviewed journal, called The Journal of New Communications Research.
The second piece of news was that, due in part to my new responsibilities, Guillaume's exciting new opportunity at Edelman and Neville's successes in his business and For Immediate Release podcast, we have decided that Blogging Planet, the umbrella organization we had set up so we could do business together, is no longer needed.
It has become increasingly clear to me over the past months that the work I enjoy most is teaching others about the wild and wacky -- yet incredibly powerful -- world of participatory communications. I also greatly enjoy collaborating with my fellow PR/marketing bloggers, and the Society (SNCR for short) is a perfect way to do that in a much more coordinated fashion than we had available to us previously. Finally, I have found myself in a place where being a relatively independent industry observer, commentator and/or evangelist is much more satisfying than being a consultant tied to one particular firm. Or to put it more succinctly, I like collaboration more than competition, and with this move, most potential conflicts of interest quickly disappear.
I have always been a bridge builder, and by moving from consultant/competitor to non-profit industry representative, I think I can be more effective in meeting my goal of gently nudging our diverse industry forward, by persuasion based on experience and, especially, qualitative research that starts to get at what it means to live/work in this new society we are constructing.
The work I will be doing with SNCR ties nicely into my graduate studies in communications and philosophy, which will get underway in about two weeks at the European Graduate School. This blog will certainly reflect some of the theorizing and thinking I'll be doing! And of course, I'll still be playing the role of editor over at Corante's Future Tense blog, examining the future of work.
As you probably know, I am currently building the program for the New Communications Forum 2006, and hope to be teaching a variety of seminars and teleseminars both in the US and Europe in 2006. I will also keep up my various speaking engagements. (If you are interested in having me come to speak to your group, please contact me at ealbrycht at gmail dot com.)
I am truly excited about these new opportunities and the ability to collaborate with so many smart people through the SNCR. I welcome any ideas you may have about research topics you think are vital right now. And if you are working with a company doing something particularly ground breaking, please tell me your story so we can learn from you. (I am happy to sign NDAs, especially if that will enable me to observe and study the introduction of new communications tools into your organization.)
I think 2006 is going to be a very exciting year!