Zoom and connections
I realised the other day that I hadn’t had a Zoom call in weeks. It was time to take down the precariously attached light from behind my computer and relax about the books on the shelf in the background (yes a chef did once screenshot, zoom in and comment on my choices…) I had already, since leaving full-time work, deleted Teams and Slack from my phone and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
We’re all used to being connected all the time, in myriad ways, but it’s only when you stop that you can weigh up the pros and cons. I don’t miss wading through three separate inboxes of sometimes utterly random releases which arrived in their hundreds, while also fielding messages on colleagues’ preferred channels. But now, working on several left-field and one NDA-related project, I can feel a bit too disconnected.
Sure, I circulated a new email address and even printed a few business cards (remember them?!) but I’ve also become far more relaxed about being contacted via WhatsApp and even DM on social media – something I (and other journalists) have railed against during PR-attended events in the past. Times change.
As many journalists now have ‘portfolio’ careers and/or move around a lot, I feel for PRs who genuinely want to impart information they know is useful but struggle to find the right avenue. I’d encourage PRs to send a gentle message to journalists who have announced that they’re changing job or leaving a workplace: “Would you still like to hear from us?” Any reasonable hack will let you know either way as well as their preferred method of communication – it’s helpful for both sides. And until you ask, you won’t know and dropping someone from your lists without asking is not, I’d argue, a good look. But more on that another time…