PR Fish Bowl

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TGIF: Don’t Take My Landline! (yet)

This week may ultimately be remembered for other news stories, but the one touching most people I know is the great “Blackberry breakdown.” Millions of people were without emails for about 24 hours and a feeling of helplessness has prevailed.

Yet, there remains the humble landline. Of course, pundits believe it will soon join its decrepit denizens, the tape deck and tube TV, among others, but I posit that we aren’t ready to be rid of it or some other technology stalwarts just yet.

The landline is often the only equipment “left standing” in certain kinds of disasters and the only way 911 operators have to dispatch emergency workers to a location.

The fax machine, another near-relic seemingly on the brink, still has relevance as well. As the media database Cision often shows, some reporters and producers actually prefer to receive faxed or mailed pitches! I asked a producer for “Live with Regis and Kelly” about this and was told that it’s so much faster and easier to “rip a pitch out of the fax machine” and sit down with a bunch of colleagues to go over multiple story ideas. Far be it for me to deny the media their missives by mail or fax!

Paper. People have been predicting the passing of paper ever since “going green” entered the vernacular. At our office, we do our best to print as little as possible, but an informal poll shows that paper, along with pens and pencils, aren’t ready for the trash heap just yet. Here are just a couple examples: Hand-editing a press release often allows for more accuracy; and reviewing detailed spread sheets such as survey data is often easier if you can spread out and compare pages manually.

Email. Some people want to replace it with social media alternatives. To this, we say “rubbish.” Email is immediate, efficient, inclusive and omnipresent. Messages are easy to store, to reference, to repurpose and nothing beats it for productivity. And we’re not just saying that because our client is email innovator Silverpop!

What workplace workhorses still do the trick for you? What would you like to see disappear?

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