What do we want in 2016?

With the excitement of Christmas sadly a distant memory now is also a particularly good time to reflect on the year we have just had and determine what we would happily bid adieu to in 2016.

The first of these things? Selfies

Is there anything more annoying in the social world than a selfie? Perhaps ultrasound pictures of babies, but given that’s a life changing moment, I’ll let them off. And yes, an ill-informed overly opinionated political rant is also a particularly irritating thing to read but the selfie is the worst. The selfie is reprehensible because it demonstrates extreme narcissism. The selfie stands for, and revolves around the individual’s desire to take their egos and lack of self-esteem to another level and post pictures of themselves on social sites. The worst selfie site is definitely Instagram. Take a look at the Most Popular pics sometime. Count how many are selfies. Then go ahead and worry about society.

“SCROOGE! I hear you shout.

“It’s just a bit of fun” some of you may say.

But it isn’t. Well, not according to Birmingham Business School which released the paper “Tagger’s Delight? Disclosure and liking behaviour in Facebook: the effects of sharing photographs amongst multiple known social circles”. In the paper, four esteemed professors claim that people who post more selfies have shallow relationships with people. That’s real people, not virtual friends. Increased frequency of sharing photographs of the self, regardless of the type of target sharing the photographs, is related to a decrease in intimacy,” explains the report.

Good. Let’s end the selfie plague.

Second on the list – Buzzwords

There are lots of these lists, of things in public relations that have become so engrained in comms that they’ve lost nearly any meaning – for those that had any to begin with. Nonetheless, here is our selection of those from 2015 that hopefully won’t make it into the new year.
1. “Brand storytelling”
2. “going forward”
3. “Synergy”
4. “Reaching out”
5. “Low hanging fruit”
6. “Sell-in”
7. “Media outreach”
8. “Layering”
9. “Leveraging”
10. “EOP”

Third – use the phone properly.

The phone is for some junior PR people (and some more experienced) the most terrifying thing on any desk. Despite the fact everyone has used one hundreds of times, today there seems to be an over-reliance on email, whatsapp and text. The personal conversation is dying. Anyone who has attended a media briefing with any publication has heard the words “don’t phone after you’ve sent a press release”. We walk away, sometimes with our tail between our legs, somewhat downtrodden. So we don’t. We don’t call on the back of our release, the result, sometimes – lots of chasing emails and no coverage. If we do call, and yes, sometimes it annoys the journalist, the result, more often than not, a quote is used, an interview secured. So we’re very much stuck between a rock and a hard place. Therefore, use the phone properly. Brief media beforehand. Learn when your key targets can take a call. Only phone when convenient. Make sure you know what you’re talking about. Don’t just call with a sheet of generic ‘things to say’, you will come across as a basic cold calling salesperson – you’re not. Add value. Add insight. Help your client’s reputation, don’t damage your own. On the flipside, there also seems to be an over use of the phone internally. Calling colleagues across the office is lazy and if we’re honest doesn’t get the job done. Go and talk to someone. It is easier to learn from colleagues if you can see them, face-to-face. Technology is the gift that keeps on giving. Use it wisely.

Chris Wilson, Senior Account Manager

About the Author: pro-user