EDITORIAL: PR needs to take a tech refresher

Mention the words ’high’ and ’tech,’ or ’dot’ and ’com,’ and the eyes of PR professionals light up. Ka-ching! But as pros pitch the latest ’unique’ application and the ’new revolution’ in this or that, it’s disappointing to report on the PR industry’s apparent blindness to the importance of technology in their own lives.

Mention the words ’high’ and ’tech,’ or ’dot’ and ’com,’ and the eyes of PR professionals light up. Ka-ching! But as pros pitch the latest ’unique’ application and the ’new revolution’ in this or that, it’s disappointing to report on the PR industry’s apparent blindness to the importance of technology in their own lives.

Mention the words ’high’ and ’tech,’ or ’dot’ and ’com,’ and the

eyes of PR professionals light up. Ka-ching! But as pros pitch the

latest ’unique’ application and the ’new revolution’ in this or that,

it’s disappointing to report on the PR industry’s apparent blindness to

the importance of technology in their own lives.



Of course, PR is a people business. As this magazine has mentioned

before, the most important technological developments for the PR

industry were probably the telephone, the fax machine and e-mail. But

why is there such little understanding of the role that technology can

and does play in PR?



The extent of the problem was underscored by a recent technology

conference organized by the PRSA in Boston. It was a mouth-watering

prospect. With access to some of the finest brains around, there are so

many technology issues to think about:



- Building a Web site



- The impact of wireless technology



- Selective disclosure in the Internet age



- The viability of Webcasting



- Internet law



- The changing role of the database in catering to journalistic

preferences



- The ethics of tracking journalists and their attitudes



- Billing software



- Chat room monitoring





But what was the audience served? Sad to tell, it was the same old, same

old story. Ship in the media and listen to their trite pitching

tips.



’Read my magazine/newspaper/Web site.’ ’Send it to me by fax/e-mail.’

How long will the PR industry tolerate paying hundreds of dollars for

its employees to attend these conferences before it realizes that this

is not ’training.’ It’s robbery.



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