Before I Call It a Year

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

This time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in the “Top 10…” or even “Ten Worst…” kind of madness that gets published online and in print, and aired on television and radio. Pundits, critics and yes, bloggers, find it essential at year-end to rank and ultimately file what’s perceived as important.

And, of course, regular folks just make New Year’s resolutions, which can be a good thing, providing they last before the next mortgage payment is due.

Regular readers of The PRDude know that I prefer the proverbial path less taken.  Hey, it’s more fun that way.  So rather than produce a dispatch on “Top 10 Public Relations Horror Stories” or some such nonsense, I’m ending 2011 with one of my many “Random Thoughts” posts.

NOTE: If you want to read what some self-proclaimed “experts” maintain are the biggest “bad” PR stories of the year, read this post from PR Newser. You’ll have enough to read well into 2012.

The PRDude Goes Intercontinental.  The nice folks at WordPress just sent me a cool report that provides analytics for my blog. (I recall reading some blog where the author asked for “buzz words” that need to be retired, and “analytics” was listed. Don’t get me started.)  Along with some of the expected stuff, I learned this: I have followers on every continent!  Well, not Antarctica.  But one person in Kenya reads my blog!  Those naysayers to the value behind and potential of online communications take notice:  Blogging is only going to be more prevalent, more relevant and more essential in the future.

This Ain’t Your Father’s Public Relations Anymore. For years, those of us in the industry have recognized the need to educate our clients, members of the media, the publics we try to influence and ourselves about the dynamic change in the way we practice public relations.  I think it’s often called a “paradigm shift.”  I just call it an entire new way to reach audiences and engage in dialogue.  In fact, the Public Relations Society of America, of which I’m a proud member, has launched an initiative to craft a new definition for “public relations.”  Hey, what’s yours?

What You Can Expect in 2012. One of the statistics revealed in my 2011 summary was a bit disturbing: The PRDude only published 30 posts all year.  What I hope to accomplish in 2012 is to publish a post weekly.  And, one strategy I’ll employ is to write shorter posts on a specific subject.  (So long my “Random Thoughts.”)  I’ve read good blogs should be in the 300 to 500 word range.  I must admit I’ve posted dissertations that have approached 1,000 words.

It’s time for Susan and I to head out for a nice New Year’s Eve dinner.  So, I’ll end this post with this thought:  Express yourself.  Share your thoughts and ideas. Communicate what you like and don’t like. We now have the tools to instantly exchange information that may make a positive impact on this world.  Make 2012 the year you commit to communicating.

Your thoughts are most welcomed.

On This Day A Decade Ago

September 11, 2011

By Edward M. Bury, aka The PRDude

On this day a decade ago 19 men — fueled by hatred, ignorance and a warped ideology — changed the course of history here in the United States and wherever people live free.

On this day a decade ago this nation was bound by a singular cause made part of our collective national consciousness from the senseless loss of thousands of lives and destruction of symbols of what makes this country great.

On this day a decade ago heroes were born — and heroes died, many quite unceremoniously; not on fields of battle but in places thought to be safe.

On this day a decade ago the morning skies above New York, Washington and eastern Pennsylvania were clear and blue; within the course of 102 minutes the skies were darkened by smoke, anguish and fear.

On this day a decade ago artists, writers, poets and musicians were inspired to chronicle first the horror, then the pain and finally the resolve and courage that surfaced in the days and months later.

On this day a decade ago I stood stunned in a room with colleagues and witnessed first-hand on a television screen the latest horror man brought upon fellow man.

On this day a decade ago I sat in silence on a subway car and overheard a rough-looking man utter this challenge: “Put me in a room with that terrorist motherfucker and let’s see how tough he is.”

On this day a decade ago I spent the first of many evenings engrossed in news reports and tried to understand why a handful of  people living thousands of miles away could tear the very fabric of our country to its very core.

On this day a decade ago life went on, but we vowed never to forget.

Today, our lives have changed. We have to take off our shoes at the airport to pass through security.  We are recorded on cameras in places public and what used to be private.  We are constantly reminded to be constantly on guard.

Yet, the very foundations of this nation — our freedom to assemble peacefully, to speak our minds and disagree, to pursue greatness — remain intact.   Towers crumbled, lives were lost and many more lives were decidedly altered on this day a decade ago.

Today, we carry on and hopefully learned that our world, our children’s world and their children’s world will never be the same.  Hopefully, we will never stop trying to reach a place where we will never have a day like on this day a decade ago.

The PRDude Projects: Goals & Objectives for Decade II

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

New Year’s resolutions? Not for me.  I’m taking an approach centered on accepted public relations  practices.

Before we pop the champagne around here, the last day of 2010 and the last day of the first decade of the once-called “New Millennium,” here are some goals and objectives I plan to pursue in 2011 and beyond:

  1. Goal: Avoid Snarky Commentary. Examples of snarkiness — mean-spirited, demeaning, back-stabbing comments from “experts,” celebrities, bloggers, journalists and others — abounds in print, television and online media.  Some say or publish this stuff in an attempt to be humorous or elevate their standing or position.  Some hope to sell a few more books, garments or concert tickets.  Enough! I’ve reached the proverbial boiling point — whether it’s a judge on a TV reality food show or an online discussion.  I refuse to participate in snarkiness disguised as criticism.

    Awareness Objective: Identify 100 percent of all snarky commentary that crosses my desk, laptop or BlackBerry by January 2, 2011.
    Acceptance Objective: Recognize that all snarky commentary is counter-productive and a waste of time by January 3, 2011.
    Action Objective: Rapidly turn the page, switch channels or hit the “Delete” key on all snarky commentary from January 3 to December 31, 2011.

  2. Goal: Support Ethical and Effective Public Relations and Communications. This may appear to be perfunctory; but it’s an initiative that those of us who take the profession seriously and believe in the value it delivers to society must continue to do.  Efforts like the PRSA Business Case for Public Relations and credentials like the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) keep reinforcing what true public relations is about.  (Disclosure: I am a PRSA member, hold the APR and am a member of the Universal Accreditation Board, which grants, administers and markets the credential.)  But all of us who are passionate about the profession need to do his/her share.

    Awareness Objective: Identify by January 2, 2011 what public relations has done to impact my life and career.
    Acceptance Objective: Re-read PRSA Ethical Standards by January 3, 2011 and become more proficient in incorporating those into my work day.
    Action Objective: Promote in this blog and other communications from January 4 to December 31, 2011 the true definition of “public relations.”

  3. Goal: Support Those Seeking Employment or Career Growth. I took on the PRDude alter-ego on September 4, 2009, the day my management position with a Chicago association was eliminated.  It was the apex of the Great Recession, a time when companies were shedding scores and scores of workers. This October, I reached my goal and secured a tremendous new position — one that offers opportunities to grow and contribute strategically to the goals of the organization. (And, I get paid pretty well, too!)  I’ve learned a lot and will enthusiastically help those “in transition,” as job seeking is called today.  Job market news today actually was encouraging, as the number of first-time unemployment filings declined.

    Awareness Objective: Learn throughout 2011 of positions in public relations, marketing and other communication fields.
    Acceptance Objective: Reiterate throughout 2011 that I hold knowledge and tools that can help others in the profession.
    Action Objective: Take a pro-active approach throughout 2011 to assist anyone seeking career advice — from those entering the profession to seasoned practitioners.

Note:  Sincere thanks to everyone who’s read this blog, especially those who’ve taken time to comment. Online communications, of course, offer unlimited opportunities to share ideas and information; I’m honored to be a small part of it.

Wishing all a safe and Happy New Year, and a prosperous 2011.  Okay: It’s time to pop the champagne.