Have you ever heard of the metaphor “river of information?” Well when explaining what it is that I do to people who do not live for communications, I sort of run with this analogy.

Communication is made up of messages. Consider these like droplets of water within a river. There are several different ways that water travels, messages are no different. Messages go through cycles just like water; they are sent down a stream, received, and turned into feedback just like the water cycle.

So messages are like water in a river. There many different types of waterways within which water travels, messages are no different. There are so many different channels of communication out there; consider these like different waterways. There are some large waterways, like rivers, and there are some that are only tributaries that sprout from larger rivers. Communications channels are no different; there are large channels like the web, television, print. And there are tributaries that flow from these large channels of communication. For example, Twitter is a tributary of the web; much like the NY Times is a stream stemming from Print.

So that sets up my world, a world in which I am a navigator. I help organizations pour their messages into streams in a method that will best help that message be received well.

The cool thing is that this analogy can be extended further; my colleagues and I are all essentially navigators, but some are better at guiding certain streams and rivers than others.

I happen to be a fairly good captain of the digital sea; I have experience in online communications thus that is where I can best help an organization send its message. However because I have fundamental skills in navigating one communications channel, that skill can be applied to other communication channels. It also means that because I have experience sending one kind of message, that skill can be translated to a different type of message. For example, I have experience in email marketing to external groups, however that navigation skill can be applied to internal communications as well.

In my role, I do more than just keep an organization afloat.

This is the best possible way I can explain what it is that I do. And the irony is that my role is much like the role of any sea-captain; you don’t know the name of the captain of the Titanic, do you? But you remember the blunder that happened because of the captain. My role is similar because I help enhance the way an organization is remembered; the only difference is that in my role I strive to do more than just keep the organization afloat.