Monday, September 13, 2010

Things to do in public relations when you're dead

First the web was dead, then the phone call, and now the press release -- which, like cowards and Kenny from "South Park," has died a thousand deaths.

I think I've already covered the whole web-is-dead thing here. As far as phone calls go, technology is certainly making it easier to avoid them, and it gives us more options for communicating at our own convenience. But as Clive Thompson notes in declaring phone calls dead, those that we continue to make are becoming more meaningful. I urge the people who work for me to make phone calls and not simply wait for an email response when they are working on an important project -- especially one that is time sensitive. It's actually easier to talk to someone on complicated matters than to trade emails or texts. And there's never mistaking someone's tone when you are talking to them on the phone. No need, in other words, for emoticons.

As for the press release, well, that's also ground I've covered previously. The bigger question is, what's the obsession with declaring technology and communication channels dead? Two reasons, in my opinion. One, pronouncing a technology obsolete that many people still use extensively is an easy way to appear to be on the cutting edge. And if it turns out there's life in those old bones yet, well, you weren't wrong -- you were just ahead of your time.

I also think there's a certain amount of laziness at work. If something is outmoded, then you have an excuse not to invest time and resources in it. It's the same reason people dismiss new technologies as fads: It spares them the effort to learn how to use them. As often as not, it's wishful thinking.

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