BLENDING OLD & NEW

1 Dec

A few weeks back on a chilly night in Atlanta, my cousin and I attended a football game that featured his alma mater and my childhood team taking on a top 10 foe. During breaks in the action, John, who gave me my very first journalism assignment back in 2000 that included interviewing my favorite golfer and 1987 Masters champ Larry Mize, would unfold a piece of notebook paper on which he’d scribbled a map of a web site he was reworking for a new PR client. Then occasionally he’d whip out his fancy phone and show me the latest LinkedIn communications articles and forums.

As we sat there in the oldest (Division 1-A) college football stadium next to my aunt and uncle — one having just set out on a new stage of life called retirement and the other nearing the end of a distinguished legal career — those diametric aspects of life hit home like a binary bop on the head.

In the age of convenience and technology, in a communications world that always heralds the next big thing (if not drapes it all over the side of a building to maximize visual consumption), how important it is to balance the old and the new. What good are those high-tech tools and instantaneous communication if we incorporate them at the expense of manners, social skills, patience, a healthy attention span, etc.? The classmate in grad school who only aired his grievances with another in 2am e-mails comes to mind. A thousand times more perplexing: another first cousin, this one on the other side of the family, just told me on Thanksgiving Day that he didn’t know I had a kid until he saw the evidence on Facebook. My daughter is 3 years old!

The day after the game a Northern California PR expert and company owner, whom I’ve been lucky enough to work with for a number of years, weighed in regarding how to approach a PR/communications job opportunity. “Writing skills are clearly important, but knowing the news business and interacting with people are more important,” Gary wrote. This simple, yet profound, advice came when I was expecting tactical tips like the latest interviewing strategy.

So what is it that helps us successfully blend the old and the new, whether in our work or in life in general? What keeps us from getting off balance, leaning too far toward the modern, overly marketed way that all too often emphasizes quantity over quality? I think Dan Collins of the Winston-Salem Journal offers a pearl of wisdom in this regard: “It’s my own take that pride in an accomplishment and the passion to want more don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Not if you have perspective.”

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One Response to “BLENDING OLD & NEW”

  1. Steve Church December 9, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    Wise words to ponder, young man. I like the way you write. Keep it up!! Great picture of Grandma and Julianne!!
    Uncle Bags

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