Communicative Ecology of Sojourners from Pakistan and its Implications for Public Service Campaigns
Osman Gazzaz, Mohammad Zafar Iqbal, Fazal Rahim Khan
Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
Communicative ecology of Hajj-pilgrims from Pakistan is examined in a probability sampling. Of the eleven communication contacts identified, contacting friends and co-pilgrims tops the list followed by community organizational sources of information counters, tour operators, and Hajj mission officials. Ethnic newspaper and the mainstream Saudi mass media rank third and fourth. Less than 10% of the responses respectively cited digital billboards & Internet. Community organizations, co-pilgrims,
... he ethnic newspaper, and the digital screens impacted upon satisfaction. Findings highlight implications for public service campaigns to pilgrims. Advancing the discussions on the issue, we assume that the pilgrims in problem situations operate in the context of the best available communication choices or channels. That is, the use of a particular communication channel by the pilgrim-sojourners should be looked at within the context of all the other available communication channels and not in isolation from one another. The broad research question the study, therefore, seeks to answer is: of the communication resources available to them, what communication connections do the pilgrim-sojourners make in problem situations during their stay for the pilgrimage in the host country setting? That is, the study aims to map the sojourners' communicative ecologies. Additionally, if the pilgrims' communication-contacts in problem situation help alleviate their problems then a relevant query has to be about the impact the pilgrims' communication-contacts may have on their satisfaction with services. Such a query will not only manifest the actual utility of the pilgrims communication contacts in problem situations but may highlight the importance of these channels for public service campaigns to facilitate the pilgrims. We believe, generating such information may be a significant prerequisite for taking a scientific approach to developing a pilgrims' reach strategy. Additionally, it may also help guide the efforts of researchers, communication practitioners, and the campaign planners that seek to effectively communicate with the diverse communities of Hajj sojourners. The assumption is that an optimum reach strategy, apart from the specific message content, has to exploit and engage the entire gamut of the pilgrims' communicative ecology that acts as a conduit for the campaign messages. We believe, generating such information may be a significant prerequisite for taking a scientific approach to developing a pilgrims' reach strategy. Additionally, it may also help guide the efforts of researchers, communication practitioners, and the campaign planners that seek to effectively communicate with the diverse communities of Hajj sojourners. The assumption is that an optimum reach strategy, apart from the specific message content, has to exploit and engage the entire gamut of the pilgrims' communicative ecology that acts as a conduit for the campaign messages. Communication ecology: what is it and why does it matter? Marshall McLuhan (1964; 2005) coined the term "media ecology" highlighting the need for mass communication research to consider audience members' media connections in context of each other. The term communication ecology expands McLuhan's original idea to include individuals' interpersonal and organizational communication connections as well. Comprehensive conceptualization of communication ecology is found in Katz, Ang and Suro (2010), Matsaganis, Katz, and Ball-Rokeach (2010), Wilkin, Ball-Rokeach, Matsaganis, and Cheong (2007) , and in Wilkin and Ball-Rokeach (2010). The substance of the conceptualization in these studies boils down to the following: that communication ecology refers to systems of interpersonal, mediated, and organizational communication options that individuals can connect with in order to achieve everyday life goals, and that people act after considering their communication channels in context of each other and they usually connect to more than one communication option for a particular type of goal, and that individuals' communication ecologies are goal-type specific. That is, the manifested communication ecologies will be different when the goal is to understand events in one's community from the ecologies, for example, of the play goals -goals to figure out what to do for relaxation and entertainment (Ball-Rokeach, 1998) . The most important potential benefit of taking an ecological approach from the present study's standpoint nevertheless is that this approach shall help us identify the most important communication channels for building a communication campaign, for maximizing its effectiveness in capturing attention, and for increasing its effect potential. Objectives of the study Given the foregoing, the main objectives of the study are: To statistically describe the pilgrim-sojourners' most important communication connections/behaviors for everyday needs. To determine the degree to which the pilgrims' communication connections impact upon their level of perceived satisfaction with the services provided to them.