Maybe you’ve found yourself like me recently, grumbling that “kids today” and many of their parents have no vision beyond themselves? I found myself so tired of their technology habits!
A recent Pew Research Center study found, “experts predicted that the impact of networked living on today’s young will drive them to thirst for instant gratification, settle for quick choices, and lack patience. A number of the survey respondents argued that it is vital to reform education and emphasize digital literacy.” I witness evidence of this all around me, and it’s not only among the young! So many people are trapped in ways of living mired in instant gratification and personal entertainment bubbles. It’s not good, not good at all, especially if you want to be a great PR professional.
The opposite of the three qualities identified in the Pew study actually makes for great PR people. The ones who look beyond themselves (voluntarily silencing RSS feeds, texts, tweets, pins, email notices and Facebook posts, etc.) and, in fact, care passionately about telling others’ stories, embrace short- and long-term consequential thinking, and are willing to live with ambiguity while researching best options bring respect, honor and success to the profession (not to mention success to client initiatives). The UCM PR faculty know this and are working hard to form and reform our own educational standards and benchmarks to challenge instant gratification thirst, desire to engage in satisficing (Yes, that is real word and is spelled correctly) instead of optimal choice making, and impatient tendencies.
Like I said back in March, educating tomorrow’s public relations leaders is definitely a kaleidoscopic effort, made even more so by the need to redress the thirst for instant gratification, satisficing and impatience. And, like I said before, keeping up requires a little help from our friends. When those outside the university walls extend patience to our students through internships and mentorships that demand professionalism, engage with us in class-client relationships while demanding optional choice-making, and model digital media savvy and professionalism, we are better equipped to turn out great PR professionals-in-the-making.
Tricia Hansen-Horn PhD