I run a communications firm – public relations and marketing communications. In other words, we use “techniques for expressing ideas effectively” or perhaps, one could say that we practice the “strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their customer base”. We also use marketing communications to “communicate a message to a desired market.” There are communications and communications and then there are people left befuddled at the amount of times they’ve said communication(s).
As someone involved in this business, I’m quite heavily invested in that little S. When it boils down to semantics, communication is the act of exchanging information. It can take on colourful tones, be emotional, meaningful, often misunderstood. Communications, on the hand, is technological. It’s a particular set of systems in place to transfer information.
Communications is what my team and I deal with at work. We handle how a company presents itself and gets its message across effectively. And I’ve come to side, with those flag bearers of spelling, punctuation, and grammar on the internet and their crusade against this particular S. But language like most things evolves, and I’ve come to appreciate the more nuanced meaning of communication(s). Yes, at one point, communication essentially meant face-to-face old-school interaction. You had to be within spitting distance of someone’s face for real meaningful communication but that just isn’t the case these days. As I’m repeatedly reminded, communication now takes place through group chats and disappearing stories and even interactive quizzes. Communication has changed.
So yes, while my firm specialises in communications and everything that comes along with that, at the end of the day, what we’re trying to do is communicate a message. From in-person presentations to social media campaigns – we’ve found new ways to communicate. We’ve taken a hold of the myriad of ways that you can connect with someone or a market or a business and we’ve tied them up in a neat little bow that says ‘communications’.
While I’m more than happy to spend an hour reading one inflamed article after the other on the communication vs. communications controversy, I have to say that I’m a little more sympathetic now. I mean there are many worse things than an extra S – bad communication for one!