Connection Paper #2 COMM 605 Strategic Communication: Analysis and Theory Dr. John A. McArthur By: Jakita L.

Jones February 21, 2011

I have a mentor by the name of Dr. Cindy Trimm. She is best known as an empowerment specialist, bestselling author, and life coach. She has amalgamated with heads of state, business moguls, politicians, churches, civic and world leaders for more than 30 years to equip and empower millions to maximize their potential. She founded Cindy Trimm International (CTI), to bring practical solutions to spiritual and social ills; effecting change within communities while transforming the course of global destiny of many. She is established as one of the most respected and sought-after leaders in the world today. She has received multiple honors and awards including: Ambassador of Goodwill for the State of Tennessee; the Guinness Book of World Records; Woman of the Year for Outstanding Community & Professional Achievement; Twentieth Century Award for Achievement; Two Thousand Notable American Women, and listed among the top 500 Leaders of Influence. Dr. Trimm has also received awards and distinctions from the Queen of England, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Governor of Bermuda (Brown, 2010). As her mentee and a critical consumer of communication messages, I have observed her communicative strategies on her website, Twitter, and Facebook. In my opinion, she has categorically established and maintained the impressions that are congruent and harmonious with the perception that she wants to convey to her publics. She conveys an image of a specialist and consultant in the areas of coaching, empowerment, and philanthropy. Not only has Trimm created brand awareness for herself and her organization, but she consistently insures that her audience’s perception of her is continuously validated and confirmed by providing quality services, such as thought-provoking teleconferences, executive coaching sessions, and valuable lecture series, thus making her follower’s perception a more concrete reality. My view comes into alignment with Erving Goffman’s impression management theory, which states how individual actors create, maintain, defend, and often enhance their social identities through assumptions, settings, props, and scripts in a play metaphor. The goal of this theory is to attempt to

influence others view or awareness about a person or organization by providing self-assessed beneficial information in social interactions. The motive for this objective is based on the assumption that the target audience’s impressions about the individuals, groups, or organizations become reality of the target audience (Ihlen, van Ruler & Fredriksson, 2009). Dr. Trimm’s campaign has proven Goffman’s theory to be valid. On the other hand, while the management of Trimm’s reputation is well-administered, her social media activity with her supporters is a potential issue for her organization. According to Goffman, footing is a concept which concerns participants’ stance or posture in interaction and he divides the footing of a speaker into three parts. The person actually producing the talking is the animator. The author is the entity responsible for constructing the words and sentences (who can be someone different from the current speaker). The principal is the person who is socially responsible for what is said and the attitude behind the words or language (Ihlen et al., 2009). As it relates to Goffman’s footing concept, the dilemma in social media is Dr. Trimm’s communicative messages are potentially creating this falsity or illusion of true social interaction. In other words, Dr. Trimm is the animator, the author could be Trimm’s publicist and the principal could possibly be a staff member of Cindy Trimm International (CTI). Therefore, on Twitter, it appears that Trimm is constantly and directly tweeting back and forth to those participants who are following her organization/ministry. However, the participants cannot be certain that it is Dr. Trimm communicating with them personally; thus, constructing this sense of fallacy of direct social media communication or contact with Dr. Cindy Trimm. While being able to directly tweet to her followers is an excellent way to engage the ministry members and partners in her organization, social media blends or fuses the footing of the speaker. As a Twitter participant, this concept causes me to question whether I am following Dr. Cindy Trimm, someone else’s idea, thoughts, or tweets. The perception of Dr. Trimm that is a reality for her followers

can be threatened or distorted if the footing of the speaker cannot be identified and sorted in social media.
References Brown, Paul. (2010, May 5). Meet Dr. Trimm. Retrieved from Ihlen, O., van Ruler, B., & Fredriksson, M. (2009). Public relations and social theory: Key figures and concepts. New York: Routledge.

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