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Divided we stand, united we stand together.

If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.  ~Benjamin Franklin

It is fair to say that no subject is likely to split the PR community into various camps than that of the general state of Public Relations.

Like a boxing bell (save in reverse) when it rings, people fly into corners and the fighting (exchanges) begin.

  • Theory v practice.
  • Industry v profession.
  • Pragmatism v introspection.

Is it evolving, devolving, dying? Too removed from actual communications, not diverse, not ethical enough?

Where there should be common ground and opportunities for PR to move together as one, there appears to be insurmountable cracks.

I am reminded of the 80s Vietnam movie “Platoon” where the soul of the hero played by Charlie Sheen is at the heart of a struggle between two disparate soldiers played by Tom Berenger and William Dafoe.

Both have different ideas on how to lead the platoon and in their own way are both right but rather than work together they are at odds over everything and refused to yield any ground

Now PR isn’t at war but at times practitioners run to trenches when their views and opinions are criticised or if another group take the opportunity to promote its views.

Franics Ingham in a typical no-holds barred piece wrote aboutPR’s habit of naval gazing and feeling sorry for itself and called for it to be proud of its achievements and to continue it’s fine work.

Although there were elements which were open for challenge, I could not argue with the general tone as I had written a piece in the same vein earlier in the year. But among the many supportive comments it received a senior practitioner wrote a tweet which described it as an ‘awful and bitchy post’.

Francis responded very politely and deftly batted the comment away but it just reminded me that PR is not an industry made up of cold hearted and dead-eye academics. Many of those involved in PR have a real passion for communications in its various forms. If we are to use those passions to build and elevate PR, we need to yield some ground and temper our views with an element of reason in order for all to benefit.

Passion is not just for the Bright Young Things but is also the province of Wise Old things or as Eliot wrote.

All passion becomes strength when it has an outlet. – Adam Bede – George Eliot


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