The news that Oxford Dictionaries has declared 'post-truth' its 2016 international word of the year is not just a sign of the impact it has had on politics. Unless challenged 'post-truth' will become accepted practice with evidence and experts being consigned to history. There is no reason why this cannot apply as much to business communications as politics. Unchecked, it will become how we communicate all the time.
Whereas major organisations have traditionally sought to inject some political balance into their public statements and engagement, there is little downside from ignoring, or slapping down, a weak and unelectable political force. That's clearly the Virgin Trains and G4S calculation in the UK - neither company is ever going to be regulated by a Corbyn government. Whether Donald Trump will ever be in a position to knock down Skittles is another question.
Communications data includes data about who people communicate with, how and when they do so, how long conversations last. However, the new proposals are likely to go further than previous attempts, by requiring compilation and retention of web-logs and browser histories and, crucially, by forcing decryption of encrypted communications.
Whether we intend to or not, we form judgements about people almost immediately, to decide if they are 'friend' or 'foe' - whether we are safe in the company of someone like us, or whether we should be more alert to a potential threat. This is an instinctive reaction which, many generations ago helped our ancestors to survive.
There are changes afoot that all of us in communications need to confront. So do those who report on our sector. The biggest change of all is the need to stop thinking of competition between television and online, or between above the line and below. We should think instead about collaboration, cooperation and integration, and the significant results that we can achieve together.
'The internet and social media have empowered the PR trade and freed it from subservience to the news media.' This was the provocative starting point for an RSA debate recently, which also asked what this premise meant for the future of journalism and, more importantly, the future of public interest.
The vernacular of 'Science 2.0' has become increasingly utilised in the debate about the future of science. Many media articles and conferences focus on this topic, and the European Commission has recently held a public consultation to better understand the impact of 2.0 and desirability of policy action to enable it.
It's important to build time for creative thinking into communications rather than getting bogged down in bureaucracy. While creativity for creativity's sake can backfire, firms that fail to bring new ideas to the table will become less relevant. The key is devising a strategy that allows room for creative thinking, while ensuring that any ideas are clearly aligned with business goals.