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August 10, 2011
Don't Fight It, Dan, You're In PR
 
Talk about protesting too much! I'm not a video gamer, but I've happened upon a post by Dan Amrich, Activision's social media manager. For whatever reason, he's protesting that he's "not a PR person," because he hasn't studied public relations and has none of the experience and knowledge that makes PR people "good at what they do." He's a writer who creates blogs, podcasts, and videos and sets up Twitter and Facebook feeds and pages. And, of course, he has "editorial freedom."

Come on, Dan, don't fight it. You definitely have a relational job, and that places you in public relations, whether you've been formally trained in that discipline or not. The reality is that just about all of us who labor vocationally or avocationally around an interest are in public relations — we're expressing ourselves in a manner, presumably, to catch and hold the attention of other people. We're relating to others, hopefully well. That places us in public relations, whether by degree or by default. It's important to be continually mindful of that.

It's not like the difference between "a drummer and a bass player." We're all in the PR band!

Words and actions have consequences. Hopefully they will be good ones, but they will foster responses because our words and actions are relational. Dan doesn't play his Activision games, or attend to whatever other duties he has there, in a cave with a boulder rolled up out front. He relates to others, hopefully and presumably well. 

Just because some folks have squandered the relational value of public relations skills by applying them to tawdry ends doesn't by any means invalidate the fact that virtually by acting among others, or to reach others, we are all in public relations. We'd better understand that, or we may snub or hurt somone we shouldn't. Don't fall on your sword, Dan, wield it well. You, like virtually all of us, are "in PR." You must have more important things to do than make hair-splitting distinctions — yes, you're a writer, but you're also a PR guy. You're not simply "in a rare, weird, narrow, somewhat radical space that I get to define as I go."

"I am paid by Activision to write about Activision, my way," you add. Boy, are you in PR! Good luck with it!

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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