The Silver Lining to PR Defined
It’s amazing what a little thing like a definition can do.
How often do you get into an argument with someone over how they defined a term differently than you?
Leave it to the PR professionals to get into a tizzy over a definition of the term “public relations.”
It’s kind of funny if you think about it—a whole profession of people who specialize in communications cannot agree on how to communicate about their profession.
I’m not making light of this situation at all—defining PR is a huge undertaking and the PRSA took up said unfavorable task and has had to address the subsequent backlash.
And I fully understand the irony with my not working in PR or corporate communications, yet I maintaining a blog called “PR in Pink.”
I’ve made no secret of my new career path and still think that my previous experiences working in public relations warrants a few more helpful posts before I transition to a new blog about alumni relations (working in the pink theme, of course!)
So as not to add to the fire, I’m not going to propose my own take on what the definition should or should not be. I’ve already shared my thoughts on the diversity of PR definitions before, so I shall not digress any further.
Much like the perpetual optimist that I am, I’d rather share what I have observed is the “good” of this whole PR defined situation.
PR professionals are passionate about their work
In reading the many posts out there and the subsequent comments (some of which I have contributed) I realize that people in PR are really passionate about their work.
How passionate, you ask? So much so that they will not let three definitions that they do not subscribe to go by unnoticed.
They are writing columns in favor of or against the PRSA’s options. They are proposing their own personal PR definitions. There’s so much chatter going on that it’s hard to keep up with.
All this points to a profession of sharp and (for lack of a better word) engaged people, all contributing to the discussion.
PR professionals are smart people
There’s an underlying big picture to what it means to define public relations—how that will or will not solve all that is wrong with the profession’s perception and reputation.
Some folks expressing their opinions about PR defined project and the problems associated with such an exercise are drawing attention to this larger picture.
PR professionals are fearless
Jayme Soulati stuck by her crowd-sourced definition; David Rickey from PRSA stuck by his organization’s process and definition options. Is either individual more right than the other?
That’s not a question to answer, really, but more an indication that people in PR are used to criticism, often plan for it, and develop a thick skin to weather the storm.
I don’t know if the PRSA will be swayed to make any changes as a result of this discourse, but it’s still an illustration that you need to be a little fearless to take chances in this profession.
The Silver Lining?
The world of public relations will not stop if one of the PRSA terms is selected.
More than likely, folks who have been challenged to define what PR is to them will stick to their personal definitions.
And that’s okay; in fact, that’s a good thing, since they will hold their work up to a personalized definition that they have had a part of creating.
So, I applaud all sides on this issue and choose to see the silver lining in it all.
Now, who wants to help me define “alumni relations”? Any takers? Bueller?….