Dialogue, non–dialogue and dissemination—Ancient questions, contemporary perspectives.
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Mersham, G. M.
Description of form
With the advent of the Internet, the promise of dialogue has become the holy grail of communication. The idea of communication without dialogue is not a popular one. Decades of critique of the unidirectional messages of the mass media, controlled by powerful institutional agents of power, has been damning. Those who aspire to dialogue often have a moral rejection of one-way forms of communication. A misunderstanding of one-way and persuasive communication has created a skewed view of the role and place of dialogue in public relations. This article explores the philosophical underpinnings and key features of dialogue and its antithesis, non-dialogue, or dissemination within the communication field. It revisits some of the propositions made by the ancient Greeks and modern theorists about communication and dialogue, and how multiple interpretations of what constitutes a dialogue have become blurred. It considers the idea that in recent times dialogue has been uncritically equated to ‘good’ communication and that one-way communication is ‘bad’ or, at least ‘less than best’. The article argues that both forms are equally important and have existed in the thoughts of theorists and philosophers throughout the ages. While the discussion focuses on this premise from a communication perspective, reference to public relations and marketing activities in the context of social media and the Internet are made. Dialogue requires a sense of exchange, interchange, mutuality, and some sense of reciprocity.
Mersham, G. M. (2014). Dialogue, non–dialogue and dissemination—Ancient questions, contemporary perspectives. Prism, 11(2), 1-16. Retrieved from http://www.prismjournal.org/homepage.html.