I’m that annoying girl with the hot pink Blackberry. And I’m taking your job.
Posted by Crista Leigh
By: Crista Leigh Wunsch
I’m positive that I look pretty funny to the causal onlooker—Blackberry in hand, thumbs moving faster than the speed of light, trying to keep my quips and qualms to 140 characters or less. To tell you the truth, sometimes I’m amazed that the friction my thumbs create while feverishly poking the tiny buttons on my Smartphone doesn’t cause my hand to spontaneously combust. You may laugh as I squint at the text from my 4×4 screen, but get this—I am saving my company thousands of dollars a year.
Oh, and I’m taking your job.
You see, I’m the future of public relations. I’m a 20- something who grew up with a computer mouse in hand, while you were trying feebly to change the ribbon on your typewriter. While you talk on the phone with one person, I’ve already told 15 co-workers about the new deadline via text. As you feverishly scribble notes to remember what others say, I’m recording the seminar on my IPod, and I’ll listen to it instantly on the way home using the hook-up in my car. While you’re e-mailing, I’m GoogleDocing. While you’re uploading, I’m Bluetooth transferring. While you’re face-timing, I’m Skyping. Yes, I’m the future.
And the future is now.
Picture this: There are thousands of fresh, young, hungry college graduates who are online right now, searching through Monster.com, making connections on LinkedIn, and networking via Facebook, hoping to get a job in the industry. They are willing to work for pennies just to get a foot in the door, and each trained in the newest technology that many seasoned PR professionals may not know. Instead of mailing their resume on 20- pound fancy paper, they have created a digital presentation and have just e-mailed the link to your boss.
Are you still laughing?
Public relations professionals must adapt to technological changes in order to survive—and most importantly, keep their job. More and more job descriptions are popping up that require—in addition to a Masters in Communications and 10 years in a boutique agency—the ability to use social media.
Social media is a fast, free tool that lets you reach people that might not have otherwise known about your service. It’s instant, and can even be specifically geared to reach your target audience by filling in their demographic information upon signing up. PR professionals who at one point may have scoffed at the idea of paying someone to Tweet about their new product are now recognizing and admitting that it’s the most useful and valuable concept since the press release. Even the PRSA is offering seminars (and webinars, too!) to teach people how to use the websites to their advantage. Agencies are hiring people with titles like Social Media Specialist, and paying upwards of $45,000 per year.
Try this example: It is discovered that the medication your company distributes has been linked to a series of mysterious deaths in a concentrated area. You need to get the word out to people to make sure they do not take any more of the drug. How do you get the message out? Time is of the essence when thousands of lives are at stake, and a newspaper ad could take as much as a day. If people are at work, they are probably not watching TV or listening to the radio. Social media is the fastest, most effective method of getting the word out to countless people—and could result in each of them staying alive.
Who would have thought that letting everyone read your diary could get your client more attention? Your blog—no longer a paper-filled book with a brass key—is a new twist on a journal, allowing anyone in the world to read about what is going on in the life of your company. You can post links and commentary about media coverage for your newest venture, or write a blurb about how your company is expanding. You can write a narrative about new trends in the industry, or give an opinion on a talked-about linear strategy. Blogging is a way to make your company appear current, socially responsible, and projects an image of public openness like nothing else. If your company has a blog, potential clients could view it in an entirely different way than a similar organization without one. It may seem narcissistic to write about yourself or your company, but think of all of the great information you are sharing with the public that allows them to peer even deeper into your corporation.
Forget worrying that 26- year old me is going to saunter into your office, plop down my Macbook, and make fun of your ancient fax machine. The third new technological aspect to rock your world is this: I don’t even need your office. Actually, I don’t need your company. Heck, I don’t even need your building. Sound impossible? Well, it isn’t– because I could run an entire PR empire from the comfort of my own couch (or futon, as the case may be) and never even need to change out of my Victoria’s Secret PINK sweats. With new technology making communications, conferences, and ways of conducting business obsolete, it’s easier than ever to start and run a business completely online. I can create all of my materials in Pages, create my own promotional materials with Adobe Illustrator, keep my clients up-to-date with a Constant Contact newsletter, and hold interactive meetings at any time of day and with anyone in the world—all from the comfort of my own home.
Adapting and changing: it’s what we humans are all about, right? When something new comes our way, we try to learn it, love it, live it—and hope that the person in the cube next to us doesn’t get better at it. It is beyond important that public relations professionals begin using the newest advancements in technology if they want to keep ahead and, more importantly, keep people like me from taking over their jobs.
You don’t mind if I dock my IPad here on your desk, right? I have some Netflix to catch up on.
This article originally appeared in the Saint Rose Chronicle in May 2012.
About Crista LeighI used to be "The Rock Goddess" on the local affiliate of a nationally syndicated morning show. I spent my nights hanging out with band members at local concert venues, DJing and MCing various booze-filled events, and wearing outfits that involved more studs and spikes than could be found in every combined circa-1999 Hot Topic. Now, I'm the "Social Media Goddess," helping your business solidify a digital marketing plan to keep up with competitors. Doesn't really have quite the same ring, does it? I’m a lover of many things, but I am passionate about a few. Radio is my first love, and with that, the art of broadcasting. I have a deep appreciation for all music (yes, even polka) and grew up on a steady diet of punk rock and gospel (thanks, Dad). Combining my love of radio and music– and to live it every day– has been a dream-come-true, and I consider myself lucky to continue to work in the industry that gives me so much joy. Blogging, for me, is almost like an extension of radio. It gives me an opportunity to share my thoughts while providing the world with information. Marketing and social media are my new passions in life. I suppose "new" isn't the best way to describe it (since I've been at it for more than a decade) but I have recently enhanced my skills with additional clients and a shiny new master's degree. I suppose that's why I'm here.
Posted on May 25, 2014, in Public Relations, Social Media and tagged blackberry, blog, blogging, constant contact, crista, crista leigh, crista leigh collins, facebook, PR, public relations, remote meeting, skype, social media, twitter. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.