Embracing a balance between old and new
Posted: Wednesday 02 January, 2013
It was recently announced that the UK’s last ever typewriter had been produced. This news was met with a collective sigh of nostalgic sadness. As one of Punch’s ‘older’ generation, I remember using my family typewriter for stories and letters. In addition, a few of the team (me included), went on a lunchtime trip recently to buy our 2013 Filofax inserts – something that surely won’t be around in a few years as the number of people managing their diaries and contacts online increases.
It made me think about how I can be enthusiastic about embracing technology, while equally being reluctant to move on in some instances. I enjoy consuming media online, the first thing I do after checking my emails is read the BBC or the Guardian to find out what is going on in the world. I am also a big fan of Twitter and often think how lucky we are now to have access to the news, opinions and knowledge from well-informed, intelligent people merely through our phones. Text messages are a lifeline, an extremely useful shortcut to actually having conversations with people and I can’t remember how I coped before my digital radio. Yet in some elements of my life, I am less enthusiastic to let go of traditions. I really enjoy reading a proper old-fashioned paper book, even if it does mean extra weight in my holiday baggage and more space in my cluttered bookshelves. I like the action of confirming an appointment on paper – somehow for me it feels more permanent.
It also made me think about how the role of a PR professional has changed so much since I started working in the industry. I remember spending days stuffing envelopes with press releases, taking them to the franking machine and traipsing down to the post office. There is no doubt technology has been a benefit in this instance, saving days of administrative time trying to get a story to the media. One thing that happens less frequently is the ‘face to face’ meeting, partly attributable to time pressures and budget cuts, as well as the ease of technology. I find myself connecting on LinkedIn or having a two-way conversation on Twitter with journalists I have never met. While this is a fantastic tool, I still think meeting a journalist in the flesh is a great way of cementing a relationship that may last for years, although it is harder than ever to prise them from their desks.
Overall, I believe it is essential for marketers to be at the forefront of technology when communicating with younger consumers, but I also think it’s OK to have a balance. A few guilty pleasures harping back from the past can’t entirely be a bad thing, and I think I’ll hang on to my Filofax for a few more years.