We’re all individuals


Time to lapse into James May mode a bit with this post. (If you don’t know who James May is, Google Top Gear. I’m regarded as the James May of my family by more than just my wife and son. I think of myself as more like Jeremy Clarkson: tall, prone to bombast, and inclined to get irritated at what I regard as the stupid things done by everyone else. Those who know me will be nodding. But I digress.)

It’s a wonder, it strikes me, that this PR game we all play works at all. I had lunch today with some of the team from a client. All are programmers, and everyone was an individual. I had a conversation with each of them, on topics we all cared about, all in a shared context, all completely different in tone and detail from each other.

That they are all programmers didn’t make any difference. Their perspectives differed from mine because we are individuals, not programmers and a marketing man.

In other words, there’s perhaps no such thing as an audience. Perhaps it’s much more a collection of individuals, as many as thousands, or hundreds of thousands.

If we consider public relations from this perspective, it’s a wonder it works at all. How could we ever have communicated effectively with thousands of people with a media release? No wonder people (individuals) interpret things in such diverse ways.

And no wonder traditional media are under threat, and how surprising is it that this system has worked for hundreds of years? One version of a story, presented by a source, interpreted by a journalist, and read by literally hundreds of thousands of individuals.

Time perhaps to take stock of what we need to do, and how we might actually start to have thousands of conversations. Of course this isn’t new. But it only occurred to me earlier today.

What worries me is that I can’t work out whether I have a job for life, or no job at all.

About alansmithoz

Head of Strategic Business Communications at Australian social analytics technology company Digivizer, with a background in corporate public relations and marketing. I do what I do because I believe communications can make a difference.
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