Can a public relations person unplug?

Can a public relations person unplug?

A pivotal part of the public relations profession is staying in the know. Twitter, Facebook, blogs and news sites are constantly checked, as we are responsible for knowing, well, everything.

So what happens when a PR pro wants to take the kids camping or spend a quiet evening with the significant other? Can you safely ignore the news feeds for a few hours? What if something breaks about your client and you miss it? Worse, what if Kimye breaks up and you aren’t the first to post about it?

All of this leads me to the question, can a public relations guru ever safely “unplug?”

Last month I took a few days off to go to Bonaroo in Tennessee. Between the live awesome bands, I wandered the camp grounds with my phone in the air searching for reception. Surrounded by hippies, I was a rarity.

After not having service for four days I came home to 64 work emails, 27 personal emails, six Facebook notifications, five new Twitter followers and one direct message.

As an intern my internet absence was doable, but for a professional I’m not so sure it could have been done. We are responsible for the well being of our clients including evenings and weekends. We’re expected to be on call, on point and most of all knowledgeable. We are, after all, counselors…24/7.

It is necessary and valuable to check out every once in a while. A clear head can produce better work. Find ways to blow off steam without putting yourself off the grid. Take that camping trip with the family, but make sure a trusted colleague can stand in for you or you can be reached in case of an emergency.

The unexpectedness of the profession keeps me interested. It bothers me more to be disconnected than the idea that my time is not necessarily all my own. There is a fine line that PR people must dance upon, and it sits between being a workaholic and not good at your job. Love it or leave it, that’s the nature of public relations.

By Noelle Pickler, Intern

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