Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Long Arm of Online 

This article raises an issue about which PR practitioners should be concerned. It is the inability of an individual to escape his past. With global databases accessible online, a failure of yesteryear is open to everyone for the rest of an individual's life. Modern society has become a culture in which there are no second chances. I shudder to think what it would be like for my generation, which openly rebelled in the 1960s and 1970s. We are survivors of a pre-database age.

The issue the writer raises is an interesting one. What is the role of forgiveness, if any? As PR practitioners we will be given the task of supporting someone who might have been busted for something when young but has done well since then. How do we handle this issue? There is no escaping it and increasingly, there is no ignoring it either. In past years, it was one of the duties of a PR person to handle things quietly for executives when they or someone in their families got into trouble. With sites like The Smoking Gun, there is little chance of doing that, especially since the site specializes in running booking photos of prominent people.

Transparency cuts in two ways -- for good and for ill.


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