Killer lead…Welcome to my blog.
Why this blog? Good question. I am blogging for my beloved students, both current and former, in the Mass Comm. Department at Towson University. I am also doing this as a link to my many friends and professional colleagues from my 30-plus year career in organizational communication/public relations. “Why is Uncle Lester blogging?” you see on this page summarizes my motives.
First and foremost, I want to blog as a way to participate with my students in professional development – theirs and mine. I teach only things I have had real professional experience doing. My values as an instructor are centered on being authentic. I teach from lessons learned in the arena. I have the academic background, too, and I am working toward a doctorate. But real world experience resonates most with my students. I teach things I earned a living doing. Things that fed, housed, and clothed my family. I teach from a “been there, done that” perspective. Call it street cred. I offer lessons from the real world that will somehow transcend any textbook. I want to make the lessons come alive and instruct my students far into their careers, when they are facing real life situations and need guidance.
Now there is a communication revolution, and at its heart is social media. And blogs, web-based publishing platforms that enable us to communicate as never before, simply must be part of what I do to be credible as an instructor. Even more profound is the effect blogs have on the practice of PR. Blogs allow anyone in an organization’s public — customers, employees, opinion leaders, enablers, opponents, competitors, any stakeholders anywhere — to bypass the traditional print, television and radio media. They can also bypass even the most well-intentioned PR work. Students preparing for careers in PR need to understand the impact this has on their work.
PR instructors must get with it, too. And I mean now.
So, here I am. With the advent of blogging, people connect and interact quickly, immediately, and easily. Blogs build trust, and businesses (and PR and marketing professionals) who do not embrace this fact will suffer for it. My students need to know this phenomenon, embrace it, and work this knowledge and experience into their overall skill set as public relations practitioners. But according to my value system, I can’t just get a book on blogging or social media and teach it with any credibility. I need to do it, experience it, live it. Now that I am here, I have never been more excited about the possibilities that the blogosphere holds for us all. Why me? Ha! If you don’t know me, then you might rightly ask that question. Do I match the typical profile of today’s blogger? Not even close! I am a 59-year-old grandfather, a paraplegic and wheelchair-using professor in the PR Track of TowsonUniversity. I’ve had 30-plus great years as an organizational communicator, with the last ten or so as president of my own international strategic communication planning and management consulting firm. But cutting edge techie I ain’t. Far from it. I have been interested in social media for a long time now, mainly because of two influences: one is my students, so-called “Millennial students” who embrace technology like Paris Hilton embraces paparazzi. The other is my long-time friend, Consultant Shel Holtz, the international superstar of online-focused communication services and early adapter to the wired world and its application to communication and PR. For years now I’ve watched Shel lead us, sometimes kicking and screaming, into the bold future of the internet-based communication revolution. I am amazed at his knowledge and ability to apply that knowledge to our profession. I had lunch with Shel in November 2006 and used the opportunity to ask him what I needed to do to get up to speed on social media to help my students. With his extraordinary knowledge, he told me more during that lunch than I could have found out in six months of research on my own. I took it from there, and that led me to being here now. Why now? It is simply time. And since I am just sitting here anyway, I might as well be doing something productive. My principal motivation is my beloved student’s education and preparation for meaningful careers. I have to help them, and this is one way I think I can make a difference for them. Welcome aboard. I hope to hear from you.