I came across a Facebook post earlier this week asking people for the new definition for “public relations.” As I read through the responses -- which centered mainly on technological advances, research, engagement and counsel, the thing that continued to resonate with me is the word “relations.”
As I began to think about the relationships that I’ve forged throughout my professional life, I was reminded that relationships are the currency of our business. Now, public relations doesn’t have the market cornered on this, because I firmly believe that one of the main foundations of every business is the relationships they have with stakeholders such as customers, competitors and employees.
Thanksgiving is a time of reflection, so I began to think about all of those people who I have made a connection with on a professional level dating back to my days working for the sports information director as a student at Allegheny College. There are so many different people that have helped shape the person that I have become today. I feel honored to have learned from them and continue to learn from them today, often calling for advice.
I’m not only thankful for these friendships and professional relationships throughout the years, but also for the ability to continue and sometimes rekindle those relationships today. I’m lucky. My father had a successful 45-year career in public affairs here in the Bay Area and I am always impressed and proud of running into people who know my father and hold him in high regard. But eight times out of 10, their next question is a genuine one: “how’s he doing and what is he doing?”
It got me to thinking. I may not see or talk with many of my former colleagues or business partners on a regular basis, but I have a general idea of what’s going on in their lives. Why? Because of social media. LinkedIn and Facebook have become the great connector of our age.
It’s a generational thing. I hope my sons won’t run into people years from now who remember and wonder what I’m doing, because hopefully I’ll still be connected with them through these social tools or whatever technology has been created by that point.
When our family is together tomorrow, I going to make a pact with everyone around the table that we help each other stay on top of the technological tools to foster relationships. That is, of course, after I get my dad set up on LinkedIn so he can re-connect with as many of his friends and colleagues as possible.
“Xenophon’s vital support allowed the Coast Guard to leverage an unprecedented level of cutting-edge social media venues and technology to reach the broadest audience possible.”