The issue: Shifts in media consumption and the growth of online social silos could present new challenges and opportunities for reaching the public with persuasive messages.
As society fragments into groups with particular perspectives, the need to tailor public messages might require new approaches to strategic communications.
Perspectives and opinions seem to be increasingly fragmenting, thanks to social media filter bubbles, the availability of information, and diverging interpretations of it. As people separate into groups with particular ways of thinking, it may not be possible to reach or persuade a majority of society with a single message. However, having to customize messages to reach different groups could reinforce filter bubbles. As a result, it may be difficult to sustain social cohesion as distinct messaging and divisions between these groups make it harder for people to understand one another and agree on facts.
As the public’s media preferences continue to change, new opportunities to reach people with more persuasive messages may appear at the same time that traditional communications become less effective.
Users online today have become used to visual content like videos and memes as a way of communication. As we move further into this future, popular preferences for bite-sized or exciting content could make complex or challenging information disagreeable to many people. How users engage with what they see and read might also change as online experiences become richer and more immersive. The format and style of communication could evolve with the emergence of such spaces, which may have their own rules and linguistic codes. Expectations for official messaging could evolve quickly and in surprising directions in such a future.
If online games and metaverses become primary gateways to important messaging and data, some people could enjoy better access to such information, while others may be shut out.
Metaverses may enable new forms of communication with the public, such as AI helpers that offer Q&A sessions on services. They may also provide new and more meaningful ways to interact with data. For example, providing someone from Saskatchewan a virtual experience of sea level rise in the Maritimes could have a more significant impact than a series of data tables and graphs published on a website. Easier and richer public interactions with key messages and data could improve everyday decision making, while also improving trust in the institutions that provide that information. However, those who reject these spaces, or cannot access them for economic or geographical reasons, could miss out. Reduced opportunity might follow, along with growing resentment and distrust of institutions.