Guest Blog by one of our presenters, Ari B. Adler.
I was asked to answer to some questions for a blog post so that attendees of the PRSSA Regional Conference can know a little more about me and what they’re walking into with my session on media relations. But I’d rather just chat with you, dear reader.
Suffice it to say that you will never know what you’ll get in one of my sessions, as I don’t either, at least not exactly. I will prepare a presentation and I will be ready to inform and, hopefully, entertain. But I draw a lot of energy and direction from whatever audience I’m in front of, so I hope the attendees come prepared, too — to learn, have fun and interact. Besides, my talk is about media relations, and there are few areas where uncertainty is the norm more than dealing with the press!
“I’m trying to be ready” is the tagline for my personal blog, Here Comes Later. On that blog, I explain why I named it that:
I named this blog after reading the book “Now is Gone” by Geoff Livingston. I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “If now is gone, what comes next?” The obvious answer is that “later” comes next. The thing is, later comes along so quickly that we need to do our best to be prepared for it. So, that’s what I’m trying to do in many different ways. I’m trying to be ready for later because, like it or not, here it comes. Get it? Here Comes Later… 🙂
I don’t know that we can ever be truly ready for what is coming later. A lot of what could happen is unknown. I’m often asked at presentations on social media about what the next big thing on the horizon is. I generally answer that no one knows because some 14-year-old is still creating it in his or her parents’ basement. In life, things can be humming along when suddenly a personal or professional challenge rocks the boat to the point that we are uncertain we can hang on long enough to navigate back to port.
And, sometimes, an unexpected opportunity arises that can turn things around in an instant. A recent example is my getting an invitation to become a Google Glass Explorer. I had applied when the devices first became available to developers and beta testers; then I forgot about my application because so few would be available compared with the the overall population. But then just recently I received an unexpected email telling me my invitation was approved and I could buy one. Since then, I’ve started seeing things differently — as an Explorer and as an explorer in my own world again. Plus, it’s rejuvenated my blogging and I even have a journalism assignment, the first one in a number of years since I moved on from the press to handle the public relations side of the equation.
It was while working at a public relations firm about six years ago that the concept of trying to be ready hit me — in part because of a young, entry-level PR practitioner not unlike many who are reading this post. I started realizing one day that this young professional was being called into client pitches and meetings with more frequency, and I started to wonder why she was in the meeting room and I wasn’t. (I hate being left out and not knowing what’s going on.) It turns out she was starting to use and become the resident expert on a goofy little short messaging
service known as Twitter. Soon, I was online checking it out and wondering what, if any, purpose this service would have. But realizing that if I was going to be called in on client pitches and meetings as much as the young professionals coming up behind me, I would need to be ready. So I signed up for Twitter and my leaping into social media and mobile technology exploration has never ended.
Folks in the media, and those of us who have to work with them, also have been taking numerous leaps over the years — sometimes for joy and sometimes off the nearest technological cliff. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that I was just hearing about Twitter, and these days I’m being quoted based on my account, @aribadler, and the one I help run for my boss, @SpeakerBolger.
When I was a student in the J-School at Michigan State University, we were chastised by professors if we even considered using quotes from someone that had been e-mailed to us. Now, I’m handling full interviews via text messaging and tweets!
The online bonanza for journalism has turned out to the bane of its existence, which has dramatically altered how media relations professionals have had to adapt their role in a journalist’s life.
It’s not all bad, and some days I would argue it has made my job more fun, more exciting and more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined. Then are the days when I want to take a pencil, stab that stupid blue Twitter bird to death and burn its corpse on a pile of old reporters’ notebooks. Sorry! Too graphic? Oh well, as I said, you never know what you’ll get when you listen to me for a while.
But isn’t that the point of conferences? To network, to learn, to experience new things — those are all admirable goals for attendees to something like the PRSSA Regional Conference. I applaud you for taking the time to attend and I welcome you to visit my session.
I’m trying to be ready. Join me, won’t you?