August 18, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Two Thoughts on Tuesday

Two Thoughts on Tuesday

**First up: are the tools defining the trade?**
Last week’s (http://www.socialmediabreakfast.com/category/smb-boston/)–another terrific program pulled together by Bryan Person–still has me thinking about social media tools and the extent to which many in the public relations profession have begun to incorporate these into their practices. The topic of the speakers was “Hiring in a 2.0 World,” and each of the speakers explained how and why they were using “Web 2.0” technologies during the hiring process. This ranged from Aaron Strout at Mzinga, who turned the process on its head and won’t be hiring anyone who submits a traditional resume and cover letter, to Todd Defren of Shift Communications who stated that if you are applying for a job at Shift, he really should have heard of you on some level–[through Twitter](http://www.pr-squared.com/2008/04/get_into_twitter_or_get_outta.html), or a blog, etc.–by the time you apply. In other words, if you are going to work at a firm that uses these tools, you are expected to be active in them.
I have mixed feelings on this–I do understand where the speakers were coming from, but I’m not so sure I’m comfortable with the absolute nature of these approaches. I have long felt that PR practitioners need far more than a passing knowledge of these tools, and I do agree the only way to truly gain proficiency is to be active on them. But, having said that, what about the people who aren’t comfortable being “open books”? And how active does one really need to be to “get” how the applications might apply to clients? All of the speakers emphasized the importance of these tools in getting to know potential new hires as real people. It might be hard to believe with the number of people putting themselves out there on YouTube, Facebook, and any other social network, but not everyone is comfortable with this level of familiarity–I know this, because I’m one of them.
By way of background, my dad was a government employee, and we lived overseas for significant portions of my childhood. Some of these were not tremendously safe places for Americans, so for as long as I can remember, the objective was to not stand out if at all possible–i.e., don’t draw attention to yourself. Career-wise, I went from politics (supporting candidates, who were out front), to lobbying (supporting the issue or coalition), to a large PR firm (promoting the clients’ objectives, not the firm–good work is recognized). To say it’s a stretch for me to put anything remotely personal out there is an understatement. I’ve re-written this paragraph four times, in fact–that’s how weird it feels. I am on [Twitter](http://twitter.com/jenzings), and you’ll find snippets of me, but nowhere near the detail that, say [@sarahwurrey](http://twitter.com/SarahWurrey) puts out there. I don’t have a personal blog, but of course I’m here at CustomScoop, writing content for Media Bullseye. So where do I fit in this framework? Am I out there enough, or not? I’m interested to see where this leads, but for now, I’m still of the opinion that the fundamentals of excellent writing, attention to detail, a passion for communication, and intellectual curiosity build the best PR practitioners.
**Next Up: Speaking of writing well…**
There isn’t too much to say about this, other than I sometimes wish I had the nerve to do it. The [Typo Eradication Advancement League](http://www.jeffdeck.com/teal/blog/) (TEAL) seeks to correct grammatical errors, wherever such errors are encountered.
Some of the people they ask to change signs are fine with it, but some actually try to debate things like “Play In Doors” instead of “Play Indoors.” Playing “In Doors” I think would confine the practice to recreational termites. When the team asked to correct the sign, the woman in charge stated flatly: “I would rather have a sign spelled incorrectly than a tacky-looking sign.” This was at a store that sells *educational toys*, mind you. Tacky apparently trumps correct.
And we wonder why good writing is so rare. Thank you to Mackenzie Bradley, CustomScooper analyst extraordinaire and blog expert, for pointing me to this post. I will be living vicariously through this group as it travels across the US. Guys, if you are in Jefferson City, Missouri, right off of High Street there is a brick wall with “Food At It’s Best” painted in about 4-foot high lettering. If it’s still there, please eradicate that apostrophe; it has driven me nuts for years

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for just over 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR work, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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3 Comments

  1. jzingsheim@customscoop.com'
    Jen Zingsheim

    Meredith, thanks for dropping by! I love that TEAL site, and your post was great.
    Chip, considering that sign was in Ohio, the tornado theory might actually hold some water (but I doubt it!)
    Jen

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