In the beginning of ICM there was Halavais’s 501 Intro course. He started off by asking us if we had any sort of quick explanation for what it is we were studying. Interactive Communications, of course, is a bit conceptually redundant, since in order for Communication to take place there has to be some kind of interaction. It’s been an elusive definition for what the program is imparting, and it remains elusive. There’s no real simple way to describe it.
My own takeaway
After 18 months of working through the ICM program, I have to say that last night I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment in what I had done. People trash the internet because it’s unregulated. There’s no guarantee of quality of information, which requires a level of discernment that people often don’t want to have to be concerned with. There are whole new patterns of interacting with the information presented on websites, too, which means that simply taking old media of communications and using them in a different space doesn’t work very well. Kind of like trying to reproduce a radio drama on television. The internet has more to offer than standard media is concerned, and the patterns of usage which have developed require differentiated strategies of authoring.
We often look at the internet purely from the point of view of money and cashing in on the new medium. We talk about professional advantages that come from learning to adapt traditional business models to the new social and cultural movements which the internet has enabled, and we focus on the commercial aspects of the web. That aspect is certainly important, and it will be central to paying off the graduate student loan debt, so it’s good that QU imparts that awareness to its students.
Content is king
Yet in the greater picture, ICM has prepared me to generate content. Without the content, there’s no cash flow from advertising. Without the content on the web, there’s no draw for the users to be there. Quinnipiac has prepared me to handle the generation of content. Not always directly, and not in terms of an aesthetic education which would be acquired at a design school. However, ICM teaches us the way in which concept, content, business, and strategy combine to create and maximize the communication potential of the internet. Whether it is for our own ideas, for our client’s ideas, or even whether our role is simply to execute the plans of others, ICM produces businesspeople who are ready to populate the web with quality information.
So, Professor Halavais, while I can’t define ICM for everyone, for me it rests in that last bit.
The ICM program taught me to combine strategy, technology, research and execution to maximize the communication possibilities of the internet.
Where I go from here is all up to me.