Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Thinktank formed to study the new communications channels and their impact on society

Posted by Tom Foremski - November 1, 2005

I am very proud to be a Founding Fellow of the Society of New Communications Research, put together by Jen McClure and announced this week. There are only two confirmed hacks out of about 17 fellows, ZDnet's Dan Farber and myself. But I think Steve King, of Institute for the Future probably also counts as a journalist, and more will come, and out of it will come...? We don't know, but that is why this stuff is so interesting.

Here is more information:

The Society for New Communications Research ( http://www.sncr.org), a new international, non-profit think tank, was announced today. The group was formed to provide a forum for research and education and a source of expertise focused on the broad theoretical and practical implications surrounding new communications methodologies, tools and technologies.

The Society will study the impact of emerging modes of communication such as blogs, wikis, RSS, podcasts, videocasts, collaborative tools and the growing phenomena of participatory communications and their effect on traditional media, marketing, public relations and advertising, as well as their broader impact on business, politics, entertainment, culture, education, religion and society at large. Activities will include the development of in-depth research studies, whitepapers, case studies, best practices and standards; industry education, the publication of the Journal of New Communications Research and an annual research symposium and awards program.

The founding research fellows, honorary senior fellows and advisory board members comprise an impressive international group of academics, journalists, media, marketing and PR experts and bloggers. They will be joined by other academics from leading universities, business leaders from industry groups, associations, media companies and large corporations who will be announced in the coming weeks.

The executive director of the organization is Jennifer McClure, a communications expert with 20 years of media, marketing and PR experience, and editor/publisher of New Communications Blogzine, co-founder of New Communications Forum and a graduate student at Stanford University.

Founding fellows, honorary senior fellows and advisory board members include:

• Elizabeth Albrycht, PR veteran and author of Corporate PR, voted one of the most influential PR bloggers by Intelliseek, and editor of Corante's Future Tense blog
• Elisa Camahort, marketing consultant, professional blogger and BlogHer co-founder
• Dan Farber, vice-president of editorial at CNET Networks and editor-in-chief of ZDNet
• Elizabeth Fletcher, Esq., attorney with expertise in publishing and new media
• Dan Forbush, founder and president of PR Newswire's ProfNet
• Phil Gomes, senior counsel, online communications, Edelman
• Tom Foremski of Silicon Valley Watcher and columnist for the Financial Times
• Neville Hobson, ABC and communicator, blogger and podcaster
• Shel Holtz, ABC and International Association of Business Communicators Fellow
• Steve King, founding partner, Emergent Research and senior advisor, Institute for the Future
• Kathy Klotz-Guest, MA, MBA, marketing and media expert and founder of
Powerfully Funny, a consultancy for innovative communications
• Bruce Lowry, director, global public relations, Novell
• Mike Manuel, client supervisor and online strategist at Voce Communications
• Matthew Podboy, co-founder and client supervisor at Voce Communications
• Giovanni Rodriguez, executive vice president of Eastwick Communications
• Jeremy Wright, blogger and author of the newly published book, Blog Marketing
• Philip Young, senior lecturer in Journalism and PR at the University of Sunderland, UK and specialist in media ethics
The Society held its first meeting in July 2005 to discuss the vision, mission, activities and the group's role in the industry. Since that time additional research fellows, senior fellows and advisory board members continue to be added and committees have been formed. Potential research topics have been defined, such as:

• How to measure a blog's influence?
• How is online reputation evolving?
• How are management/social relations being tested or changed by the use of blogs, wikis, etc.?
• How can we better design online collaborative groups?
• Is online social networking actually fostering "community" or degrading it?
• How is social media impacting internal and external corporate communications?
• How is the marriage of creativity and technology and the evolution of participatory media changing the cultural sphere?
• Is there value to fake communities, false online personalities?
• Are significant differences between those who have been online since age 3 and those who haven't? What does that mean for the future of mass communications?

"The mission of the Society is to investigate, develop and share in-depth and forward-facing insights resulting from our deep ongoing study, learning, and continuous mastery of new communications tools and technologies and the promotion of best practices," stated McClure. "The fact that this research is being developed in an open environment utilizing new tools such as blogs and wikis is also unique. Our discoveries and findings will be made readily available, and all who are interested in these topics can contribute to the discussion and exploration of these issues."

"I am excited to be able to support an organization that will look at social media and new communications as part of a larger social and business picture," commented Elizabeth Albrycht, chair of the research and publications committee.

"Our goal is to help communicate the value, establish the best-practices, and conduct research in advanced communication techniques. I look forward to working with the leaders in this community and assisting in improving the communication process," added Mike Manuel, chair of the best practices and awards committee.

For more information, visit www.sncr.org or call +1 (650) 331-0083

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