I’m not a religious person, but I am spiritual. I have a sense that someone or something is watching over me. I just don’t know what it is.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been so lucky in this life. I married the perfect woman, I have my dream job, and I win lots of stuff in raffles.
I also believe things happen for a reason. And one of those things just happened.
Not 3 hours after I told colleagues I would NOT renew my membership in PRSA for 2010, I got an email from Diane Gomez, PR manager for the Society. She asked if I’d be interested in “covering” this year’s national conference — you know, like a legitimate reporter.
Say what? Media credentials for a blogger? Sure, it happens all the time in high-tech and consumer/mommy products. But not to me. Not to a guy who averages barely 5,000 visits a month.
But I got to thinking. Maybe this is happening for a reason.
For more than 2 decades, PRSA was my professional lifeline. The Society connected me to some of the brightest folks in the business, and those folks changed the way I practice PR. I’ve twice served as a chapter president and once as a national committee chair. Here at Kent State, PRSA is the mother ship for the all-important Public Relations Student Society of America.
Somewhere in the late 90s, PRSA lost its attraction for me. I attended national conferences and learned little. That happens to senior practitioners who keep up with their reading. At some point professional development sessions don’t hold much allure. And at some point, we stop showing up for those monthly luncheons at the chapter level.
If you stop here regularly, you know that I’ve criticized PRSA now and again (here, here, here, here, here and here). So I understand if you see PRSA’s invitation as an olive branch. But isn’t that just good public relations?
Let’s also be realistic. I ain’t exactly the most influential voice in PR 2.0. I doubt anything I write about the conference or the Society will have much impact in the end.
As I enter the last decade of my career, I remain skeptical about PRSA’s ability to lead this profession in a digital world. But as I head to San Diego, I can’t ignore my history with this organization,the many friends who came my way because of it, and all that I learned as a result.
To steal a line from Sloan Wilson’s The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit: “Here goes nothing. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.”
Disclosure: PRSA is providing a media pass that gives me access to the conference. I will cover all costs associated with the trip using my university travel budget and my own dwindling bankroll.