Does not having an iPhone or other smartphone make you a bad PR professional?

What do you call a public relations professional who seems to be going backwards technologically…a bad public relations professional? Does always having access to your personal social media accounts and e-mail, and also the social media accounts of your clients, make you a better practitioner?

The level of technology and accessibility a PR practitioner needs depends on the type of practice she maintains. A PR account executive on retainer for a large corporation who could need crisis communications management at any given time needs to be attached to her gadgets day and night. Of course, one could argue that any PR practitioner might need to turn into a crisis management communicator at any given moment, which is true. For that reason, basic accessibility is absolutely required, which goes without saying.

Recently, I downsized from a smartphone to a basic cell phone. For the time being, the days of my e-mail alert waking me up in the middle of the night and the need to check it regardless of where I am or what I’m doing are over. At first, admittedly, I was scared. What if I received an e-mail Google alert of some media story that contained damaging information for the college where I work, and by the time I get to it around 8:30 a.m. the next morning, all hell’s broken loose because I’ve not done my job? What if someone posted something damaging on one of our social media sites?

But I was also excited to be free. My leash was lengthened. And I’m not entirely without access to the information I need to do my job outside the office from nine to five. I have wireless at home and a laptop. You know, the basics we all lived without until a few years ago. And, I’ll admit, I check my e-mail several times at home before I go to bed, and I check it often on the weekends. PR is a 24/7 job, so it’s a rare case that we can completely be incognito for any period of time.

I’ve also fallen in love with my e-mail again. I go into work each morning kind of excited to see what’s there. Along with this technology downsize, I also purged my work and personal e-mails: unsubscribing from anything and everything I either automatically deleted or marked to read later but never, ever did. So when I get an e-mail, it’s most likely legitimate business, not a waste of my time. Which makes me a more productive PR practitioner.

All that said, I sometimes feel like I’m not as legit a PR professional as I could be because I don’t have the right props. What do other PR professionals think? Is it all relative, or is there a rule for PR pros across the board?

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4 thoughts on “Does not having an iPhone or other smartphone make you a bad PR professional?

  1. Dave_DelCol says:

    Abby, I have some of the same concerns myself! Is it a necessity to have a PDA when working in such a connected world? One time I attempted to delete my Facebook account and within two days I realized how much I depended on it for simple communication. I don’t have emails of people I know on Facebook, I just message them! I have an iPhone myself and had several Blackberrys before that. I don’t know how I could live without having everything update me within seconds. I have become so dependent on it that it has almost become an addiction. I guess the rationalization is that everyone else is doing it so it must be okay. Are we headed for some sort of disaster with this over dependence on technology? The one rule I have that allows me to still control my PDA is that every night I put it on silent so that it can not disturb me. It is one thing to let communication and social media to take over your day but my sleep is another story entirely.

  2. John Henry Malik says:

    You pose an interesting question, mainly because there is no pat answer to it. It’s all relative — to the competition, or the expectation of your clients.
    Phrased another way, your question is: does a gunfighter go to the OK Corral unarmed? Depends.

  3. It?s arduous to search out educated folks on this subject, however you sound like you realize what you?re talking about! Thanks

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