{Rules of PR no. 23} It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It

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My dad has been telling me since I was a little girl, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”

Funny, we don’t think about things like that when our blood is boiling and we’re so salty that a singular, open flesh wound will bring on the burn.

Last week Thursday, September 17, Ben Garrett, a PRSA member posted an article on the PRSA blog, ComPRehension, Status Update: Millennial Staffers Can Update Your Social Media Plans where he, in a nutshell, said that social media is tool for “testing things out” and made it seem as if Gen-Y staffers a) weren’t very bright and b) trust-worthy.

With statements like:

“A good starting point is to task new professionals with building up senior staffers’ profiles and networks on the organization’s social networking accounts.”

“Senior professionals who (ahem) remember mimeographs and Betamax are probably less savvy in the social media space. Tapping on these new professionals may seem like a gamble. You don’t want them speaking to clients, let alone producing messaging.”

… I was very confused. If I’m understanding right, young staffers are internet savvy but they don’t know enough about PR 1.0? Hence, companies cannot trust them to produce print messages, but rather only online ones, by managing senior staffer’s Facebook profiles in PR 2.0?

And besides for the fact that it looks like Mr. Garrett is ragging on 20-somethings, I should point out that social media is about engagement and individuality. Not only would updating someone else’s Facebook profile, for example, be a bad idea. But both persons run the risk of misrepresenting and creating a bland profile for the “personal brand.” This defeats the purpose of social media.

I’m a firm believer that someone should be hired based on their talent and not their age. Just because someone is 20-something doesn’t mean they are a social media expert. And likewise, just because someone isn’t a 20-something doesn’t mean they aren’t a social media expert.

Also, social media isn’t a tool for “testing things out.” It’s a legitimate, quantifiable public relations tool that, like everything else, needs a set of strategies and dedication.

That’s my opinion anyway.

I mean there are a lot of statements here…but agree or disagree with me or Ben or whoever…that’s not the point….

"Diana of Versailles" by Leochares

The point is what happened afterwards:-

A lot of differing opinions popped up and news of the blog post spread on Twitter and through PR-bloglandia like a wildfire. Lauren Fernandez and Kasey Skala wrote a response to the article on Lauren’s blog:- There’s More to a Millennial than Updating Your Profile.

What started off as a simple response to the article quickly turned into tempers flaring in the comments, judgment being questioned, name calling and emotions dictating words spewed rather than someone’s mental capacity. Lots of things were taken out of context and the root of the problem — i.e.) people not agreeing with the original post — was lost in translation.

Mike Schaffer then took to his own blog, the PR Buzz, the next day and tried to create dialogue with A Code of Civility in the PR World:-

1) While Avenue Q says otherwise, the Internet is for sharing.

2) Have respect for your peers.

3) Read, comment, respond.

4) Don’t present an idea if you can’t handle dissent.

5) Always respond to the idea presented.

6) It’s impossible to understand tone and inflection in a Tweet.

7) HAVE FUN! We have been given this tool of global networking that no other generation before us has had access to! It’s incredible!

This reminded me so much of When Communicators Cannot Communicate.

It sounds easy, but really, how many times have you been in a situation that went from bad to worse? At it’s boiling point, you had absolutely  no idea how you got into it, you knew why it elevated and all you really wanted at that point was a way out…

Think.

Rephrase.

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

Breathe.

Talk it out.

But most of all…

Little Pink Book’s Rule of PR #23:
Thou Shan’t Communicate Angry
Sleep on it and the next day see if you really feel the same way:

“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,” said Sasha’s daddy.

–

Sasha Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida (’07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami(’08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima.

Copyright © 2009 SashaH. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

Comments

  1. Great post, Sasha! I couldn't agree with you more…(and I'm the kind of person that needs to take your advice lol)…sometimes it's hard when you're just so angry and want to get your point across, but really we just all need to take a second to chill out and rethink what we're planning to say…especially since communicating is a big part of our job description.

  2. I know. It's so tough sometimes.

    And I learned this the hard way, and I think I'm still perfecting it, but yes, when emotions are running high, it's best to keep out mouths shut and our fingers to ourselves.

    We are the rule, not the exception, because we are PR.

  3. I know. It's so tough sometimes.

    And I learned this the hard way, and I think I'm still perfecting it, but yes, when emotions are running high, it's best to keep out mouths shut and our fingers to ourselves.

    We are the rule, not the exception, because we are PR.

  4. Great post, Sasha! I couldn't agree with you more…(and I'm the kind of person that needs to take your advice lol)…sometimes it's hard when you're just so angry and want to get your point across, but really we just all need to take a second to chill out and rethink what we're planning to say…especially since communicating is a big part of our job description.

  5. I know. It's so tough sometimes.

    And I learned this the hard way, and I think I'm still perfecting it, but yes, when emotions are running high, it's best to keep out mouths shut and our fingers to ourselves.

    We are the rule, not the exception, because we are PR.