Lloyd’s List’s decision to move to digital copies only, announced last week, serves to reinforce an important message for shipping and communications. And it’s one that has been on the horizon for some time now that we live in a digital world and are becoming increasingly reliant on information that can be delivered to us wherever we are, in an instant.
The fact that Lloyd’s List is widely described as the world’s oldest continuously printed newspaper has not been lost on the media community in general, with national and global news outlets covering this week’s announcement. Yet our desire to consume and access information at speed, ideally as it happens, lays waste to any sentimentality for the days of print media. Ultimately it provides tangible evidence that the way we communicate is continually evolving.
Shipping, like so many other sectors, is increasingly exploring its presence online – a natural transition not only when so much of our everyday lives exist in this sphere, but also as an industry that is brimming with technological innovation and representative of a truly global sector. It makes sense that the world’s most disbursed communities, operating in some of the most remote corners of the globe, embrace ways to mobilise and communicate.
Although the maritime community has historically seemed reluctant to adopt the use of digital and social media as a proactive communications platform, this week’s news reflects the fact that this is changing. The shipping community is increasingly alive online, as illustrated on a daily basis by the amount of engagement on platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and blogger communities.
With this improved and faster-paced access to information inevitably comes a greater responsibility for communications. Companies will need to ensure that they are in a position to not only proactively break their news and maximise positive impact in line with the way that media professionals operate, but also to react to news stories in times of negativity or crises. Looking ahead, communicating online as an organisation will need to become second nature to be effective. It’s about ‘being’ online rather than ‘doing’ – living and breathing it as the space that your brand occupies.
This media milestone reflects the potential of what is a truly exciting and evolutionary period for shipping and communications, and one that should be embraced by the shipping community, both on and offline.