‘Til death do us part: PR Pros and their Phones

“Frankly, I can’t imagine a world without a smart phone,” wrote Matthew Kirdahy, account director at Bliss PR, in response to an e-mail from us asking for his thoughts on mobile devices.

The pervasive presence of mobile technology has changed the way we live, no doubt. It might be a certain addiction to games or text messaging that makes us wonder if certain people’s phones are physically attached to their bodies, but in the world of PR, there is a livelihood tied to mobile e-mail, texts and social media.

We at Charet & Associates wanted to know how mobile devices impact both the personal and professional lives of those in PR, so we e-mailed a few practitioners in the industry to find out.

Where do pros draw the line? Is there a line at all?

“The reality is that the news cycle is 24/7 so all communications professionals need to keep that in mind and be as flexible as they possibly can,” wrote Dean Mastrojohn, communications director for Reckitt Benckiser. “Social media has added an additional wrinkle as a crisis could erupt at any hour of the day or night and a communications pro needs to be prepared to deal with it.”

But Mastrojohn also adds that there does need to be a line between work and personal life because “it’s very easy to become completely consumed by the day-to-day.”

Flexibility is the watchword when it comes to taking calls and responding to e-mails. Some rely on a constant flow of e-mails and limit phone calls to keep the channels open.

The use of Caller ID is also taken to another level in the PR world. Everyone chooses to take important calls and ignore others depending on the circumstances, but some PR pros will go the extra mile and leave the shower to take an important call from a journalist. Others will pay that extra subway fare or pull off the freeway to get good reception and be able to focus on a key conversation.

So is it worth it after all? Or have mobile phones become too invasive?

Matthew Kirdahy makes a good argument when he points out the benefits of being able to address important tasks, right then and there.

“It’s an awful feeling returning to work after days of being out of touch to find even one important missed e-mail,” Kirdahy wrote. “In this day and age, that problem should be nearly resolved by the time you get back to your desk.”

Most PR Pros would agree that while mobile devices have changed the way we work, there is little nostalgia for the days of pay phones, beepers and letters, and there are more positives than negatives to being reachable outside the office.

“PR is all about accessing information, and now, that information is at my fingertips when I need it,” wrote Karen Sperling, chief conversation officer at Sperlingreene PR and Marketing Communications. “I use my phone as a communications tool, but also as a reference tool, a portfolio of my work and a vital lifeline.”


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