Back to the PR future

      14 Comments on Back to the PR future

Jeff Morosoff, Special Asst. Professor, Hofstra University

Hofstra’s “Week Without the Web” is over.  It’s safe to say that despite the recognition that we probably spend far too much time on the Internet, the experience has shown that we are highly dependent upon–and don’t wish to give up–a lifestyle that has become so attached to all this technology.

As an exercise, my students tried to imagine what a public relations campaign was like 30 years ago without the Internet, reliable fax machines and desktop computers.  I’ve been fortunate to experience the intense changes we’ve seen since 1981 and I’ve worked hard to keep up.

Think about the challenges PR professionals face over the next 30 years.  Advancements in our Age of Information are sure to quicken exponentially.  The 23-year old practitioner will have to keep pace just as I do, staying closely in tune with services and programs developing at ever-increasing speed.  They, nor I, have any idea what working in PR will be like in 2041.  I predict it’ll become more and more challenging to keep our PR skills honed and stay relevant in a hyper-active world of integrated communication.  And as my age advances I may struggle with some of what’s coming, but I intend to keep ridin’ the wave.  I am confident that my students–the Class of ’11 and beyond–will handle it all quite well.  But I’m pretty sure they’ll be telling their younger colleagues what a PR campaign was like 30 years back, when they were forced to work with 4G phone networks, Excel spread sheets, email, and early versions of something called “social media.”  The Class of ’41 will shake their heads and click their tongues and wonder how we did PR with such primitive tools 30 years ago.  Your thoughts?

14 thoughts on “Back to the PR future

  1. artur finkel

    I have to say although my post is a little late i had to laugh at the idea of what students of the class of ’41 will be thinking looking back at us. The truth is that the one thing that has always and will always remain constant in the world of PR and that is the fact that its just as much the person you are as the technology you use that determines your success in PR. subtract all the emails, smart phones, web, scanners, printers, facebook, twitter, etc. and you have an individual that is open-minded, excellent and imaginative writer, quick thinker and fast talker, and knows how to sell. In 50 years the person i just described will still exist even if the technology doesnt. But back to the point; the assignment we did was very eye opening because the fact is that i will have to adapt just as you did Professor and im ready for that just as you were. As long as we keep up with the tech(which shouldnt be hard since its everywhere) and continue to develop our speaking and writing skills i think we will be fine.

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  2. Alexandra Backes

    I agree that we are very dependent on the internet today, but I think it is very necessary for everything we are expected to accomplish. I was really surprised doing the project about PR before the Web. I couldn’t even imagine working in that time period, but I’m sure in 30 years that will be same opinion of students our age. I am excited to see the changes that we will experience. However, I don’t think we will have such a hard time keeping up since a lot of the changes are already underway and we understand them now.

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  3. Kelly Cefai

    After learning about the life of PR in 1981, it was crazy for me to see the drastic changes within 30 years, and as the years keep passing by the advancements in technology never seems to cease. I agree that it is important for all of us to continue to adapt with each coming change. There will always be a new form of communication developed, a new way to connect a client to the public and as a whole it is vital to learn and understand in order to remain successful in what we do. However, I cann’t even imagine what technological advancements will come about in 2041, but I am excited to find out, and know that when I discuss how I use to do my job 30 years ago to my children, they will be as shocked as I was when I asked my dad how he use to do his job 30 years back.

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  4. NMagnacavello

    Speaking from my own honest point of view, the thought of contributing to WWW never even crossed my mind. There was no way I was going to be able to write papers, complete tasks at work or communicate with certain people without using the Internet.

    Regarding the project, I have to agree with Dan. Myself included, I was so unaware of what technology was relevant in 1981. I don’t necessarily believe I wouldn’t have been able to survive, but technology is something my generation has grown up with. It constantly changes as does our lives. I see how my grandparents have adapted to using the newest technology and sometimes am convinced they know more than I do. As a student getting ready to graduate, I know that the field I chose is constantly changing and that social media is only beginning.

    The thought of even having to explain what PR was like in 2011 to students in 2041 blows my mind. As crazy as they will think we are, I intend to know what I know now as well as knowing what they use as well.

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  5. Eileen Rodriguez

    I attempted to participate in a Week Without the Web…and I failed miserably. Well not really, I made a conscious effort to avoid going online, but sometimes I would end up on Twitter or Facebook on my phone without even thinking about it. Using the internet truly is second nature to me, which is kind of sad.

    I cannot wait to see how public relations evolves over the years. Social Media is still generating buzz now, but I wonder if it will still be a major factor in 5 years or if a new form of networking will emerge. Whatever the case is I know that if I want to be successful that I need to constantly teach myself how to use the latest tools. Education does not just end when we graduate, it is a lifelong process!

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  6. tori tarkhan

    Professor,
    I knew I was not going to make it, so I did not even participate in WWW. I don’t think our generation will have as much trouble keeping up with technology as you suggest because our generation has had a head start, we really don’t know a world without the internet. The previous generation did not grow up with it like mine did. I think it is more in our lives now than it ever was, especially in the school systems. I do believe the world is advancing at a scary rate, but I intend to keep up, and make sure to stay tech savvy because I know it will benefit me in my career.

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  7. Dan Steele

    I thought it was quite interesting how even throughout the actual presentation process most of our class, including myself, had no conception of the technological restraints 30 years ago. It is hard for a member of our generation to not only live without the internet, but computers all together, hell even fax machines were part of the wave of the future in 1981. Those tools have become inherently ingrained in our psyche, to the point in which when we have to solve a problem, get information, or even perform a simple task, the internet is the first source we go to. Without it, e would be hopeless. And professor Morosoff, I really found your comment about lifestyle intriguing. When technology proved to make the business process slower it too created a less stressful lifestyle because deadlines weren’t as frequent and expectations of the speed of work were not as high.

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  8. Jacqueline Chiapuzzi

    The week before when you said we were going to do this project i had no idea how hard it was going to be. The internet has it’s own place in our lives everyday, there are times that we look at it as a bad thing but it has helped us in so many ways. Until this week i never even thought about giving up the internet, i’m not sure if thats a good thing or a bad thing. In my eyes there is so many great things that the internet and technology has gave us and i can only see it growing.

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  9. Michael Watt

    Jeff:

    When I taught PR at NCC I used to start every semester with “1981” written in the blackboard and VCR/DVD, ATM, PC, Internet, i-Pod, i-PAD, Cell phones, ESPN, MTV, Mac, Laptop, and son on all around it. I would ask what the significance of the 1981 was in relation to the letters and words around it. Over the years one or two students figured it out…it was the year that I graduated from college and none of those things existed then – at least to the extent that they do now. The point I was making is the point you made – God knows what will be a part of our daily lives 30 years from now.

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  10. Melissa Connolly

    I think it goes to show that while we all need to understand the tools and communication channels we work with, what’s most important at the end of the day are good strategic and tactical thinkers who can use the tools appropriately. Whether we’re learning the fax machine or Facebook – or the IBM selectric and photocopied mailing labels – we have to understand how our audiences use the channels, how they interact, and how to persuade, inform and educate. We can all learn the tools, if we want to – and with all of the choices at our disposal – at this point which channel you use is primarily a matter of personal preference…newspaper, web, radio, Twitter, TV, RSS feeds… The real talent is creating compelling messages that people will absorb and believe and use and knowing how to apply them in each channel. Congrats on making it through the week, I thought about it for about 5 minutes.

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    1. jmorosoff Post author

      For the record, I didn’t make it through the week; every one of the five days proved to be too much of a challenge to complete without the web. I tried!

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      1. Lisa Jablon

        I didn’t “make” it either, Professor. I decided that it’d be easier from the get-go for me to give up all social media than the web entirely. It’s interesting from the perspective of an intern in the industry how “important” the web is. I wouldn’t be able to do my job at my internship AT ALL without the web – Cision, our press placement site, sending out clips and photos – everything I do is web-related. But compiling our data for our ‘PR from 1981’ project, our group definitely felt the effects of the lack-of-the-web since none of us had the immediate means of really communicating with each other outside of the classroom.

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  11. nyscacommittee

    Well put, Professor. In thirty years, as every form of media takes its turn, we’ll have to keep adapting…as some PR practitioners are resistant to social media now, we may be in their shoes with whatever tools the class of 2041 are using.

    It is not just any one individual’s dependence on technology…it is society’s dependence as a whole that encourages this need to stay on ahead of the curve. Not a day goes by now (for me), without 60 e-mails, connecting with people on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blackberries, iPhones, iPads, etc…being on top of technology is essentially the key ingredient for success.

    I see PR becoming even more cluttered then it is now…nowadays, every company/brand is jockeying for newspaper hits, media placements and fans/followers. Well, as more brands, companies and industries emerge with new media and technology, it becomes more and more of a battlefield to get a client’s mention in the news and blogs. Yesterday’s biggest news becomes today’s old news and most-likely, tomorrow’s forgotten news.

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