Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Back to Work 

It's back to work after a layoff of several days. I can't say I feel refreshed and have a new perspective. I don't. In many ways, PR is the same guidelines applied to problem sets. There are times when new problems arise that seem to violate what one knows, but rarely. The new year should be a continuation of communicating to individuals and groups. On the other hand, I would be foolish if I weren't on the lookout for something unexpected.

The largest change in my career thus far has been the democratization of communications. But, that is far along, although PR's adaptation to it has not proceeded apace. A great frustration has been the slow pace of PR's acceptance of new media. Our business seems to be contented to do the same things in most of the same ways, even as primary media vehicles change before our eyes. One wonders if the PR industry is the "spinning wheel" of the communications business dedicated to hand-crafting as automatic looms take over.

We need to understand that PR principles remain the same even as media changes. Some practitioners understand this well enough and experiment with new media. Most don't. We also have to understand that PR accepts a lack of control in media. We are not marketers who fashion every comma of a message in every medium we touch. If there is one failing of the PR business, it is that practitioners have begun to think they must control expression of a message exactly. That is wrong, and it is the reason why companies have been caught when they try to foist phony blogs and YouTube videos on the public.

I expect 2007 will be another year of struggle to make these points. One hopes that sooner or later practitioners will catch up, but it is easy to despair. One bright spot is to discover practitioners who do "get it" and to find ways to work with them. That is one reason for this blog. I would like to think that when I retire someday, I might have had a positive effect on a few practitioners. It's a dream, anyway.


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