The Young Ones

 You may have read the article in the current issue of PR Week headlined “Young Gifted and Flack?” which features a CIPR scheme to educate teenagers about PR.  I was one of the CIPR members who went along to the school hall in Liverpool that Friday morning to work with the 16 to 18 year olds.

I was interested to get an insight in to how they receive their news and information. The future certainly doesn’t look bright for newspaper publishers. None of the teenagers I spoke to bought a newspaper. A few of them said that they occasionally picked up a copy of the Metro on a bus or train, but buying a daily newspaper seemed to be an alien concept to them.

Not surprisingly, they get their information via their phones. Please note that I said “phones”, not “mobile phones”. Teenagers have grown up knowing only one type of phone. The lesson seems fairly obvious, if local authorities and other public sector organisations want to communicate effectively with young people, then they need to have a proactive social media strategy.

In my experience many organisations simply monitor social media sites and respond if they are mentioned. But if we want to engage with young people we need to take the initiative and give them messages which are relevant, up to date and, above all, brief.    

When I started out in PR, back in the days of manual typewriters, I was taught that a press release should not be longer that a single A4 sheet. Now the message needs to be conveyed in less than 140 characters.

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