Community building is part of PR's portfolio

An important byproduct of great collaboration is the creation of thriving communities.

My post on Monday talked about “collaboration” as being key to survival and success. This is because an important byproduct of great collaboration is the creation of thriving communities.

Pre-historic hunters were only able to hunt bigger game like mastodons when they banded together. Hunting bigger game enabled tribes to feed themselves, settle in an area, and grow crops. From agriculture came the first cities, and then empires with all the trappings of civilization, including the alphabet and the printing press—the first major technological advance in communications.

With the Internet and the explosion of social media and mobile telecommunications, we're in the midst of another major evolution in communications, which is giving even greater saliency to Marshall McLuhan's prophecy of the future being one “global village.”

But it's not just enhanced communications that reinforces the concept of the world as one global village, it's that every country's economy is now interconnected. The most recent evidence of this was last Thursday's more than 500-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, followed by Standard & Poor's downgrading of America's credit rating that sent shock waves around the world, undermining confidence and sending other country's stock exchanges heading south, too. This week, those shock waves continue to reverberate, further de-stabilizing world financial markets.

Congress and the president's failure to collaborate on raising the debt ceiling has had repercussions on the entire global economy.

Today, we truly live in a global village where the actions of any one person or organization have the potential to negatively or positively affect lives around the world. As PR practitioners, our evolving role must include helping our organizations and clients understand and be mindful of the global community in which they operate.

Moreover, we must serve as “community builders,” helping them not only create a marketplace for their goods and services, but going beyond that to guide them in contributing as global citizens to the community in which we all live.

McLuhan envisioned future communications as an "extension of consciousness.” More than 30 years before the Internet, he described how the globe would be contracted into a village by electronic technology and the instantaneous movement of information from every point at the same time. In bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion, electric speed would heighten human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree.

Heightening the sense of responsibility for everyone living in our global village is, in fact, increasingly required of PR practitioners. In doing so, we will help to create a healthy, sustainable global community that will provide the most fertile environment for our organizations and clients to flourish and thrive.

Patrice Tanaka is the co-chair, chief creative officer, and whatcanbe ambassador for CRT/tanaka.

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