Message (noun.)

Definition: The significant point or central theme intended in a communication.

Also referenced as: Messages (noun)

Related to: Channel, Context, Intent, Language, Misunderstandings, Purpose



The word message was used 8 times across 5 pages


Chapter 1: Identify the Mess | Page 9

It's easy to think about information messes as if they're an alien attack from afar. But they're not.

We made these messes.

When we architect information, we determine the structures we need to communicate our message.

Everything around you was architected by another person. Whether or not they were aware of what they were doing. Whether or not they did a good job. Whether or not they delegated the task to a computer.

Information is a responsibility we all share.

We're no longer on the shore watching the information age approach; we're up to our hips in it.

If we're going to be successful in this new world, we need to see information as a workable material and learn to architect it in a way that gets us to our goals.



Chapter 2: State your Intent | Page 26

Did you ever play the telephone game as a child?

It consists of a group of kids passing a phrase down the line in a whisper. The point of the game is to see how messed up the meaning of the initial message becomes when sent across a messy human network.

Meaning can get lost in subtle ways. It's wrapped up in perception, so it's also subjective. Most misunderstandings stem from mixed up meanings and miscommunication of messages.

Miscommunications can lead to disagreements and frustration, especially when working with others.

Getting our message across is something everyone struggles with. To avoid confusing each other, we have to consider how our message could be interpreted.



Chapter 2: State your Intent | Page 30

The saying "there are many ways to skin a cat" reminds us that we have options when it comes to achieving our intent. There are many ways to do just about anything

Whether you're working on a museum exhibit, a news article, or a grocery store, you should explore all of your options before choosing a direction.

How is an ever-growing list of directions we could take while staying true to our reasons why.

To look at your options, ask yourself:



Chapter 3: Face Reality | Page 39

A channel transmits information. A commercial on TV and YouTube is accessible on two channels. A similar message could show up in your email inbox, on a billboard, on the radio, or in the mail.

We live our lives across channels.

It's common to see someone using a smartphone while sitting in front of a computer screen, or reading a magazine while watching TV.

As users, our context is the situation we're in, including where we are, what we're trying to do, how we're feeling, and anything else that shapes our experience. Our context is always unique to us and can't be relied upon to hold steady.

If I'm tweeting about a TV show while watching it, my context is "sitting on my couch, excited enough about what I'm watching to share my reactions."

In this context, I'm using several different channels: Twitter, a smartphone, and TV.



Chapter 4: Choose a Direction | Page 70

The average person gives and receives directions all day long, constantly experiencing the impact of language and context. Whether it's a grocery list from a partner or a memo from a manager, we've all experienced what happens when a poor choice of words leads to the wrong outcome. Whether we're confused by one word or the entire message, the anxiety that comes from misunderstanding someone else's language is incredibly frustrating.

Imagine that on your first day at a new job every concept, process, and term you're taught is labeled with nonsense jargon. Now imagine the same first day, only everything you're shown has clear labels you can easily remember. Which second day would you want?

We can be insecure or secure about the language we're expected to use. We all prefer security.

Linguistic insecurity is the all too common fear that our language won't conform to the standard or style of our context.

To work together, we need to use language that makes sense to everyone involved.