Doctors, it is said, are often the worst patients. Why? Well, not to generalize too much -- but many feel compelled to interfere with their own health management, trampling the jobs of accomplished nurses and other qualified physicians because, after all, they are doctors too. And damn it, they know what’s best for their own bodies!
True enough. But doctors aren’t the only professionals blinded at times by their own confidence -- errr… arrogance. Many others are guilty of letting pride block rational thinking, stymieing best courses of corrective action.
Countering the signs and symptoms of a communications illness
Right up there with our trusty MDs are our very own PR professionals. As we close out 2012 and face a New Year, I fear our industry has developed an infection -- caused in part by an outdated way of measuring our own “health” (or revenue and client success) and the failure to cede some of our communications control to others in our industry who might be able to heal our ailment. Maybe we should call it acute communicative technological undermining and paralysis, or ACTUP for short.
Taking your PR patient history
The signs of ACTUP include:
PR patient prognosis: healthy if we ACT now
To be clear, I’m not saying I have ACTUP’s cure. Nor have I been holding out all this time as the PR industry was ridiculed both privately and publicly earlier after it tried to give itself a new definition of what exactly it does -- the first attempted definitional overhaul since 1982. I won’t bore you with rehashing it, but suffice it to say it’s loaded with enough jargon and wordsmith gobbledygook to make you hang your head in shame and consider a new profession. Doctor maybe? But as we begin 2013, the adage remains sound: recognizing there’s a problem is the first step toward recovery. It’s the conversation starter that inspires feedback, makes waves and, frankly, gets sh*t done.
In fairness, the fact that the PR industry has tried to redefine itself speaks to the beginning of that conversation. However, that’s not good enough. Traditional metrics aren’t likely to change much any time soon. But as the Web, carried by smartphones and tablets, grows ever more complex and critical for communications, we must as an industry better embrace these technologies. Not as gimmicky add-ons and apps, but through integrated, ground-up measures.
Although we may struggle to define ourselves and ad values remain notoriously suspect, there’s no doubt that in the tech-savvy, 24/7 news world we live in, our services are vital to the clients and corporations we serve. So we better get healthy and ACT fast.
Here’s to a happy New Year knowing we’re actively addressing our communications shortcomings. And here’s to a healthier one as little by little, brainstorming session by brainstorming session and conversation starter to conversation finisher, we tackle and triumph over each of our collective symptoms! It won’t happen in a day, a week or a month. And it won’t happen if readers aren’t engaged (come on, folks -- let’s see some creative responses below). But as with medical professionals, nothing inspires us quite like a challenge and the discovery of a new illness.
Together, let’s prove we can be better patients after all.