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Questions, queries & quandaries: The high standard of communication

I’ve been thinking about the readings we had to do for class last week and the great discussion we had in class on Wednesday, and I’ve been trying to decide what stood out as a point worth pursuing. I realized that this class and the use of social media have gotten me thinking about a lot of small things and a few big things all at once. I am constantly digesting new information and adapting to the nature of my ever-expanding perspective. Ok, I’ll move on from that statement for fear that I may sound a little too ‘Deepak Chopra’.

What I really mean to say is…am I processing this information from the perspective of a twenty-something individual or as a soon-to-be PR professional? And, does my perspective matter?

This week we’ve been talking about issues like the right to communicate, the age of ‘slacktivism’, gender and self-identity. As an individual, I take all of this information and apply it to my own frame of reference. As a PR professional, I take this information and think about it within an organizational or maybe even a global context. But where do the two meet?

Let me give you an example. We have been taught that transparency is an important aspect of organizational communication when it comes to social media. If an organization does not practice open and honest communication while using these tools I would have a difficult time working there. We don’t like to hear that organizations have employees going undercover as bloggers to promote various products. As PR professionals (I hope) we would never encourage an organization to hide the truth or pretend to be something that they are not.

Now what about my personal use of social media? I can go on Facebook, create a profile and write anything I want about myself. I can start conversations and relationships, post pictures and videos, basically create any identity that I want-whether it is true or false.

As communicators are we called to a higher standard of communication in our individual lives because of what we do professionally? Should my individual standards when it comes to using social media reflect my professional standards, or are the two even related?

My response is yes. Everything I do as an individual should reflect what I do as a professional and vice versa. When I work for an organization and encourage them to follow a certain standard of communication I think that my professional integrity depends on how well I ‘practice what I preach’. Don’t we expect a police officer to obey the law even more so than an average citizen because that is his/her profession?  

So obviously I’ve got an opinion and lots of questions. My final one is, what do you think?

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May 25, 2009 - Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , ,

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