Every morning since 1998 when I began my professional career, the first thing I’ve done is grab a cup of coffee and check the news headlines. In the world of public relations, keeping on top and ahead of what’s making news, no matter your industry specialization, is imperative to the success of your efforts. As technology and the media landscape evolved over the years, so has my process. My daily reading of The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today delivered to our office door became scanning the top stories from these and other outlets online – Google News, CNN.com and Huffington Post. Soon my process incorporated reading Google Alerts and an array of e-newsletters on my PDA and later, my beloved iPhone – before I even sat down at my desk. Today, my process also incorporates social media trendwatching, and I’m sad to say I only periodically turn the pages of a print newspaper or industry magazine (although I just can’t see myself enjoying novels on an e-reader anytime soon). And this is why two headlines I read this morning – from a daily newsfeed delivered right to my inbox – didn’t completely surprise me.
“For the First Time, More People Get Their News Online Than in Print.” Ok, we saw this coming.
But “80 Percent of Toddlers and Babies Use the Internet”? Undoubtedly the world is more connected than ever before, yet this portrait of children’s media habits in the U.S. is eye-opening. Today kids between the ages of 0 and 5 are using the Internet on at least a weekly basis. While I believe technology can be a powerful educational tool and foster important developmental skills, I shudder to think what this means for the interpersonal skills of future generations. In 2020, will infants be tweeting from their cribs about their new favorite formula brand, or texting their parents for a bottle refill using their own smart phones? (Of course not. Twitter will be a distant memory by then, and we’ll just imagine our status updates and texts to communicate with each other.)
All kidding aside, it’s clear the only constant is change, and communications must be connected. The main personality from a classic 80s teen flick memorably said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” It’s the same for technology and message delivery. You must surround your target audiences, informing, inspiring and influencing them at every turn, in every medium, on every day, and plan to adapt to “the next big thing.” We’re living and working in unprecedented times, and only those who can navigate and anticipate what’s around the bend will survive and thrive. What’s your key to survival?
By Joan M. Bosisio, Group Vice President, Stern + Associates