Treat technology as you would a friend…

I have to admit I enjoy it when the online discussion moves from the ethereal norm to something that reflects reality.

The issue of information overload and the use of technology, is something that impacts everyone today.

When we talk about “social media” and how “Web 2.0” will change PR, one of the key issues is how these things are impacting your audience (if at all).  People have limited time, and real lives. We can talk about the online revolution but if people don’t have the time or the energy then it’s a mute discussion.

I think it is very interesting – not to mention incredibly important – to understand how people are dealing with the volume and variety of information they’re dealing with every day.  (That’s why back in August I shared how I use Microsoft OneNote to manage my day – and would love to hear from others on how they are managing theirs… 🙂 )

Back at the beginning of September, Jeremy Pepper called on people to think long and hard about how they are using technology and to think about how more traditional tools may be even more productive for certain tasks. In fact, he called for people to discard “technology” and use the phone! You can see from the number of comments on the post that this is a subject that is exercising a lot of peoples’ imaginations.

While technology has its place in public relations, we have been over-relying on the tools for so long that the basics of public relations – the relationships and the connectivity with face-to-face meetings and the ability to do good phone – have been lost. It’s the few that can do it, and do it well.

Shel Holtz has responded to Jeremy’s post with a call for balance. In essence, use the right tool for the right job.  Sometimes the phone may be more effective, sometimes e-mail is best. Your job, and your challenge, is to choose the right tool for the right job.

But if each tool is used based on its strengths, then it becomes a matter of thoughtful integration of all the tools, not an artificial abandonment of a tool that has become a vital part of a PR practitioner’s communication mix.

I’m a passionate believer in balance. 

Having an insight into your audience – big or small – and therefore an understanding into what’s the most effective way of reaching and communicating with them  – is your challenge.