Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Why the rush to the revolution?

Lauren Vargas takes me to task for my post on PR 2.0.

She believes that what’s required when it comes to PR, and the new brave world of online services, is a revolution:

“While tools may be evolving, a revolution in the communicator’s mindset must first occur. We do not have time for a gradual change of a communication professional’s thinking. Thinking is our problem! However ironic this might be for our creative industry. Part of the existing toolset is the mind and this needs an overhaul. Techniques/tools are a symptom manifested from our thinking. Scary concept.”

Mmmm. I’m still not buying.

The only thing that matters here is your audience. How is your audience finding, sharing and using information? Are they exclusively doing that all online? Maybe some very small sub-niches are doing that, but the majority are not… certainly not yet.

Life is rarely that simple. People still read newspapers, still listen to the radio, watch TV, talk with friends etc. Why are we in such a hurry to throw all that away for the online alternative?

I don’t buy it.

For some PR practitioners there is an increasing online element, for others it’s very limited.

If we can agree that successful communication is about the audience, and I am assuming we can, then our focus should be on building better insights into how those audiences want to communicate. It’s about being pragmatic about how we communicate, whether that is in townhall meetings, direct mail, media relations, face-to-face, by telephone, e-mail, instant messaging – whatever.

Talk of a revolution reminds me of the boom, and the boom failed because people thought of revolution rather than evolution.

Let’s all relax. Let’s focus on getting a better understanding of how our audiences want to communicate and then let’s focus on doing that well.

Rushing off to the shiny new new thing isn’t the answer. Effective, pragmatic communication is all about taking the best of what we have and merging that with best practice online. I realize that this may not by sexy, cool, hip or ground breaking, but it’s likely to be far more effective. That’s what pays the bills.

Written by Tom Murphy

June 6, 2006 at 7:16 am

Posted in General

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