On Turning 60

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka the PRDude)

Actually, it took place a few days ago. But who’s counting?

And, there’s a perfectly good reason why I didn’t publish a post on my actual birthday: We were a bit “off the grid” as it’s been said, on a wonderful vacation in Barcelona.

(Yes, a Barcelona travelogue will follow soon.)

Actually, I am 60. And, I'm worth every penny of it.

Actually, I am 60, at least according to the calendar. And, I’m worth every penny of it.

But until then, here are some random thoughts of sorts in a question-and-answer format on turning 60 years of age.

What Does “60” Really Mean? You’re a half decade to what used to be the traditional retirement age, and the age when American workers can collect full Social Security benefits. Okay, so what does that make me? A senior citizen in waiting?

What is True Enjoyment? These days, I’ve learned to enjoy the truly important things in life. I mean, besides beer. Like health, friendships, travel and new experiences. In essence, I now enjoy Sunday morning more than Saturday night.

Trust me: There's enjoyment in sunsets, like this one over Barcelona.

Trust me: There’s enjoyment in sunsets, like this one over Barcelona.

What are Some Realizations? I think it’s safe to conclude that I will never achieve some of my childhood dreams, like playing second base for the Chicago Cubs, getting launched into space as an astronaut or becoming a secret agent.

What’s of Value These Days? Sometimes, doing just nothing while watching the sun set is valuable. Learning is valuable. Money has value, but it’s not the most valuable thing in life. Technology is valuable, but relying on technology too much diminishes its value.

What About Public Relations? With nearly 40 years in the communications industry, most of it in public relations, I remain passionate about the profession and its role in modern society. I remain very committed to the industry and the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential, and I plan to keep contributing to make the profession better.

This really is an image of a reissue ES 335 with a dot fingerboard. But I'd welcome it to my collection.

This really is a reissue ES 335 with a dot fingerboard. But I’d welcome it to my collection.

What do I Want? Nothing. Well, I would welcome a restored 1967 Ford Mustang (any color, preferably yellow), a vintage Gibson ES 335 guitar (cherry red, dot fingerboard) and a new kitchen (any color but harvest gold or avocado). Other than these three items, I have everything I need right now.

One final thought: 70 is a long, long ways away, and I have plans to do a lot between now and then.

Including sharing my thoughts as the PRDude.

“Digital PR?” I Don’t Think So

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Like many of us in the public relations profession, I subscribe to Help a Reporter Out (HARO), the online resource that provides those in the news media with a platform to enlist expert sources for their stories.

haro_90x78My goal: To identify media members seeking commentary on issues involving transportation, because that’s industry I work in at the moment. (An aside: Haven’t read any transportation-centered inquiries yet, but I’ll keep an eye out.)

Earlier this week, there was a public relations-related HARO message — one that caught my attention. The reporter was seeking insight on the use of “digital PR.”

That stopped me right in my tracks, and as an Accredited public relations professional who takes the profession seriously, I felt compelled to respond.

My message stated that there is no such thing as “digital PR.” There’s public relations — the communications practice — and there’s the use of digital resources as part of a strategic public relations program.

Apparently, there are practitioners who disagree with me, as I easily found online reports about “digital PR.” This commentary offered a definition:

Digital PR is all about combining traditional PR with content marketing, social media and search.

And, I found an agency that has “digital PR” in its name. However, I really can’t ascertain exactly what services this firm provides, because the content is in Italian.

Digital PR logoFinally, I identified a Florida marketing agency that has branded “digital PR” services. (NOTE: If the folks from this agency read my post, please check your website because the content under the “Born Digital” headline is clashing with the image of the hand holding the tablet.)

I could go on with examples, but here’s my concluding thoughts:

  • The public relations profession, which is based on building relationships through effective, ethical communications, will only get marginalized if those of us in the industry allow phrases like “digital PR” to become part of the lexicon.
  • Clients who enlist public relations professionals should be made aware that yes, digital communications has dramatically changed the playing field; but digital communications practices should be guided by the same principles and standards that guide “traditional” public relations.

Now it’s your turn: Is “digital PR” a separate management communications practice?



Follow Me, Come Follow Me — On Twitter

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

When it debuted in early 2006, let’s say I was ambivalent about Twitter.

What? A new social media platform that only let’s you send really short messages? Is it a “micro blog?” Does it have value? Who will use it?

More importantly: Is it a waste of time?

No doubt lots of others posed these same questions, learning later that when managed properly, Twitter can help build brands, catapult careers and even fuel revolutions. When used improperly, Twitter can destroy brands, sink careers and fuel revolutions.

alltwitter-twitter-bird-logo-white-on-blue So, I joined and began to tweet, but infrequently, and on a pretty wide range of subjects. I’ve learned that success in the Twittersphere hinges on frequency, concentrating tweets on a singular subject and tweeting poignant stuff with relevant hashtags.  Being Taylor Swift (61 million followers) or the Dalai Lama (only 11.7 million followers) also probably helps elevate one’s standing.

And, from the perspective of employing Twitter in the practice of public relations — a communications practice that helps build relationships — there’s no question of its value.

Recently, I’ve had a “revolution” of sorts, thanks to Twitter. Over the past few weeks, I started gaining lots of followers, though not at the pace of Ms. Swift or the Dalai Lama. I think it correlates with registering 500 followers, because after that point, followers arrived at the rate of five or six per day; as of this writing I’m at 765 followers. And counting.

Now I have followers who are:

  • Serious Mommy bloggers.
  • Serious coupon clippers.
  • Serious lifestyle/beauty bloggers.
  • An expert at making grilled cheese.
  • A soap opera expert.
  • A “charisma” teacher.
  • A 21-year-old start-up guru.

And, you get the picture. Oh, and I do have followers who are in public relations, communications, real estate and transportation — the professions and industries that hold my interest.  Although I have nothing but good things to say those who tweet on the subjects noted above and others that fall outside my purview.

Let me get to the point: My goal is to reach that four-figure Twitter follower milestone. So, follow me, come follow me, to steal a line from a popular song.

I’ll make it easy for you: https://twitter.com/edwardmbury