If you asked six-year-old me which Army man would be the absolute best one to find wedged in the rocks of a riverbed while on a walk with Lucy sometime in the next century (!), I’d say. “I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.”
But if you didn’t look scary and you promised not to tell and besides Neil Lanzendorf was standing right beside me and he’s older and he can beat up ANYbody, I’d probably say, “Any of them but except the radio guy because you know why? He doesn’t even have a GUN! And how come there’s more of them than of the bazooka guys? And I don’t like the tan ones cause Army men are green not tan.”
This morning, lodged between some rocks in my riverbed, I found the absolute worst Army man in the world—a busted up tan-colored radio guy.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I was a bit excited when I spotted that little guy in the river. I hadn’t seen an Army man in its natural habitat in decades. Still—and this is a little harder to admit—I was genuinely disappointed when I pulled up this guy.
Then I started thinking about the role the radio guys played in combat and I realized they were actually the baddest mofos on the battlefield.
Want to carpet bomb that Barbie Glamour Camper RV Motor Home Park over there where your sister is playing? Talk to your radio guy. Need a laser-guided missile to take out that underground fort that Eddie Foley made that’s really just a hole covered with sticks then grass then sand so it looks like it’s not really there but you can still drive your Hot Wheels into it? Radio guy’s your man. He can deliver every weapon you’ve got stockpiled in your twisted little imagination.
But nobody appreciated the value of a talented radio guy in the 1960s because that’s not how we communicated back then. Twentieth century communication wasn’t a two-way radio conversation. It was a barrage of one-way messages projected with overwhelming force to inflict the greatest response possible from the targeted audience. There was no dialogue, no networking, no “sharing,” no “liking.” There were just the unremitting monolithic monologues from the media, politicians, and corporate titans—the collective “they” in “they say…”
The Internet has changed all that, of course, but it’s obvious not everyone has fully grasped how profound that change really is. A lot of organizations still reach for the bazooka guy when they launch their communications campaigns. (And by the way, if your organization still “launches” communication “campaigns,” you might just be working for one of those 20th century dinosaurs.)
It’s not difficult at all to learn how to communicate effectively in the Interactive Age. You just have to know the rules. Fortunately, for you we gathered them up in this free book. Check it out. Your inner-radio guy will thank you.