A couple having dinner, each glazed to their own cell phone. Teens leaving school, each actively engaged in a handheld device walking next to classmates. A family relaxing at a resort, each member sprawled on a poolside chaise – not talking to each other but engrossed in their digital extensions.
In public relations, the medium is as important as the message. With an increasingly mobile society, more people are getting their news, their ads and their word of mouth through their phone. As PR strategists, we continue to adapt, ensuring that the messages we are promoting are not lost in the ever-crowded information marketplace.
But as the above example shows – and I observed all of these scenarios – not all of this is good. It seems that the days of conversation, face-to-face dialogue, taking time to disconnect are going by the wayside. And that’s a problem.
I worry that future generations – those raised with mobile devices, those who always get information on demand – may lose the fine art of conversation, research and original thought. I also worry what it’s doing to the family dynamic – when parents and children and loving couples, drawn close by family ties and yet ultimately limited in their time together, would rather stare at a small screen than gaze into each other’s eyes. And talk. With a voice, not a tap or text.
So while there’s a place for mobile innovation, let’s not forget to use our original communication channels.
(Thomas Becher, APR)