Sorry about that headline. I read an article recently about search engine optimization. It said to attract readers to your blog you needed to include the main topic (public relations) in the headline. Based on results so far, the wizard behind the search engine optimization curtain must have gotten an early start on the holiday. I’ll keep trying.
Anyway, yesterday I talked about the qualities (values?) that I believe are important for individuals in public relations positions and for the profession in general: character, ethics and professionalism. These qualities to me are still more important than spending all our time and energy worrying about the techniques for search engine optimization or for integrating Facebook and MySpace into public relations plans. Yeah, I know. I’m a dinosaur with a laptop. But that’s what I believe. And yet I want to learn about social media, particularly how social media can be used by organizations to help them become more successful. I hope that those of you reading this blog who are interested in social media will talk to me about your experiences, successes and failures. I really do want to learn.
In the meantime, expect me to talk about character, at least occasionally.
When I first started running, I was an avid reader of Runner’s World. Then over time I stopped reading. Once you’ve read 10 or so articles about the “10 Tips for Running a Successful 10-K” – you’ve pretty much read them all. (I’m experiencing the same problem with many of the issues of PRTactics these days, after being a member of PRSA for about 20 years. That’s another issue.) But my daughter is a runner and a reader of Runner’s World, and I read an interesting article in the January 2008 issue by Kenny Moore.
It’s a profile of Joan Benoit Samuelson. Talk about a person who demonstrates character. Joan Benoit Samuelson helped define marathon running for a generation of women – and men. In the 1980s, she set a world record in winning the Boston Marathon and then the gold medal in the first-ever women’s Olympic Marathon held in Los Angeles. But Joan Benoit Samuelson never tried to capitalize on her fame. She returned to her home in Maine, raised a family and gave her time, name and energy to a limited number of charities. In the article, Moore says she turned 50 several months ago and plans to run the Boston Marathon this April. The Boston Marathon will be the venue for the U.S. women’s Olympic trials. Moore says Benoit has no expectation of making the Olympic team – but hopes to finish under 2:50.
Joan Benoit Samuelson has character; she didn’t cash in on her celebrity. Consequently, she has maintained her reputation and creditability for years. Gee, it sounds a lot like what we are trying to achieve for our organizations by advocating public relations based on character, ethics and professionalism. Wonder what Brittany Spears will be doing at 50?
When I turned 40 – in 1987 – I completed the Pittsburgh Marathon, running with my friends Walter Herbruck and Matt Para. That was also the site for the women’s Olympic trials that year. And it was a thrill as a middle-of-the-pack (at best) runner to be associated with a world-class sporting event. I’m almost certain that my marathon running days are over. But if Joan Benoit Samuelson can complete the Boston Marathon at age 50 in less than 2:50, well…Maybe there is one long run left for me before being sent off to where the dinosaurs go to retire.