The Right Medium For The Right Message

A tweet will never change your mind (although it might reinforce an existing belief). Neither will an e-mail from a stranger.

However many strangers (people we haven’t met and don’t know) often do change our minds.

I read a lot of books and rarely know or meet the authors. Yet most books change my mind about something.

When we open a book, we also open our mind to being changed. When we’ve invested hours to read a book, we want to feel we’ve invested that time wisely. We avoid this cognitive dissonance by changing our mind – often resolutely.

Many speakers at events or videos from TED also change my mind. I’m open to changing my mind when I watch these videos or listen to these talks. I’m open to changing my mind when I signup for a workshop or training course.

Some mediums are simply more credible than others. We know the medium matters a lot. It changes the enjoyment of the message.

Today we spend far too much time on the message and far too little time on selecting the right medium to communicate the message.

It’s usually more effective to persuade someone to read a book than it is to communicate the message of the book yourself. It’s usually easier to persuade people to sign up to receive information from the right medium than it is to use some psychological ju-jitsu to deliver the right message.

This is both because of pre-existing associations with mediums and scarcity of creating effective messages on some mediums.


Even within each medium, we can push the scarcity scale to make the message more effective.

Tweets can include an image or retweet a better known figure.

Posts can include a story.

Images and videos can be more professionally created.

A self-published book can be professionally published.

An online course can become an offline workshop.

And this is the huge opportunity of communicating with large groups of people every day.

We can better decide which medium to communicate which messages. Communicating a major announcement by the same medium you’ve used for minor announcements isn’t very effective. Using a book, white paper or even a video might be a better option.

Select the right medium for the right message.


  1. Tony Jacobs says:

    Hi Richard,

    I have read today’s post this evening and disagree about your classification of forums.

    For example, I am thinking of buying an electric car in a few months when my present lease expires. I have been reading forums on electric cars and learnt a great deal. We may think we know something on a topic, but then the collective wisdom of a forum can be elevating.

    People do post their opinionated unfiltered, unedited views, but the results are educational for the novice in the topic.

    Same goes with forums I run, people do like to share their knowledge to help others learn and grow.



  2. Richard Millington says:

    That’s supposed to say social media / forum post actually.

    I broadly agree with you. My point is if you have a really important message to communicate, a forum post probably isn’t the best medium for it. It’s more about going from A to B, rather than B to B discussions.

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