Smartphones: Do we really need them in PR?

It’s not a secret: smartphone usage is a large part of our society.

Virtually anywhere you go, someone near you is talking, texting, looking something up or play a game on their smartphone. From staying informed to finding your way around a location, PRSA kindly points out that there are a multitude of uses for these devices in  the public relations field.

Furthermore, according to Forbes, more than 50 perfect of all adult Americans have a smartphone. So, what does this mean for the world of PR?

PR is all about being connected and being present. Having representation on social media is critical to organization who wants to keep up with the social media oriented society in which we live.

Source: Slate

Source: Slate

So, is it necessary for a PR pro to be par of the 50 percent with a smart phone and have all the apps PRSA says are useful to our jobs?

Well, I’d love to say no.

Now, I don’t have a smartphone. It was always a family rule, we just weren’t allowed to have smartphones. I’ve just stuck with it. To me, I don’t miss what I never had. I’m still active on social media: I tweet more than I should and having a tablet allows me to stay up-to-date with the latest apps and features of technology.

But is it enough? I’d love to say yes, but I don’t know if I can. Seeing as how I can’t get Internet on my phone and I don’t always cart my tablet around with me, I could see where it might be a disadvantage to me in the PR world.

PR pros need to stay connected to the world and I can’t do that from my phone that only lets me text and make phone calls. As a student, I might need that smartphone, but as a professional in the field – I know I will. It won’t help me to be behind and it won’t be convenient to have to go through extra efforts to stay connected to the latest smartphone quirks.

The bottom line is that smartphone or not, PR pros need to be aware of what they’re up against. If they are like me and are that oddball carrying a sliding phone, they need to be aware of how that may hinder them.

As PR pros, we have to appeal to an audience and stay connected with them and chances are, this audience is made up of mostly smart phone users. How can we appeal to an audience that we can’t relate to? Staying connected is so crucial to the PR world, and if there are periods in our day in which we can’t be connected, we fall behind, which in turn could cause us to lose respect and credibility from our audiences.

I would love to argue against smartphones – trust me. But the fact is, I can’t.

Technology is such a huge driving force in our society, and there is truly no other way to reach an audience without it. With print news becoming obsolete, being present in a virtual world is sometimes the only way to remain present. And, if you’re only online for a little bit each day, who are you reaching? Almost nobody!

That isn’t to say that work should be a 24/7 thing because of constant Internet access that smartphones provide. I am still under the firm belief that there should be a divide – but that shouldn’t cause us to fall behind because we don’t have necessary technology to keep up.

I don’t have a smartphone now, but someday I will. Because I have to. This is a media based field and a media based world. Without connecting to social media, it becomes hard to reach an audience without proper tools.

Smartphones play a crucial role in the PR world as we stay present and connected with our audience and unless we all want to carry around tablets or computers forever and pray for free Wi-Fi, it’s probably time to upgrade to a smartphone.

Are you in the 50 percent? Why or why not?

Andrea Mellendorf
EMU Student
Guest Blogger

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