Twelve hours of videobook on ‘In what sense: what is public relations?’. A narrative which summarizes some 400 years of professional experience. A dream, or a nightmare?

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Bear with me and please visit www.lucasossellaeditore.it .
Mind you, the sound is in Italian so it might be better to move quickly along the few minutes to get a grasp of what the contents, but more importantly the format, are like.

Basically these few minutes are an excerpt of a good twelve hours (!) of videobook (3 dvd’s of four hours each) to which Joao Duarte referred to in his post here a few months ago when we were shooting the various sessions.

The title is: In what sense: what is public relations? , and will hit Italian bookshops next week.

The work is divided into six sessions

°pervasivity of public relations;

°satellite view of the global professional community;

°organizational objectives which public relations assist in pursuing;

°implementing public relations programs;

°evaluating and measuring of public relations;

°public relations’ publics.

In each session, facilitated by yours truly, with the essential support of my young but very savvy colleague Fabio Ventoruzzo, is an expert senior witness, while in the audience sit and actively participate anywhere from 40 to 80 midlevel and senior professionals who intervene in the discussion, criticise, ask questions and make points.

All together the work cumulates the expression of some 400 years of professional experience in 12 hours of video book.

First point: what made me do it?

Well, a crazy but stimulating publisher courted and convinced me (also crazy).
As anyone who knows me or reads me realizes, I do have an unabashed…. grand opinion of myself… and I think that it is ‘responsible’ (too pompous? maybe useful is better) to leave behind a rationalised narrative of almost 50 years of personal professional experience, at least twenty of which also included some thinking, studying and rationalising.

Second point: Who is it aimed at?

Well, my ultimate hope is that anyone who is curious to understand how her/his opinions, attitudes (political, social, consumer related) are formed day in day out by not necessarily transparent influential sources through published opinion as well as lateral, word of mouth, viral and what have you applications, may learn how to beware and create a protective and interpretive apparatus which might help in getting a better understanding of how elites in society mostly screw you in and out, but sometimes even allow you to make better decisions.
But I am well aware that this is a very normative and thoroughly unrealistic objective.

My intermediate hope is that my colleagues will want to ‘sip in’ at least the more juicy portions of the videobook in the hope they will be able to be more aware of what they are doing every day, why they are doing it every day and even receive some inspirations on how they can do what they do every day a little bit better.
This is less normative, probably as unrealistic, but a little bit of hope is there because if even ten do it it is better than zero….

The most descriptive and realistic hope, finally, is that although university professors will never have the guzz to use this as a mandatory textbook, I am sure (if not for other reasons, at least for political correctness) they will suggest to their students to have this videobook in their libraries, and if even 100 of these actually see the whole thing then I am confident that the Italian professional community will have as many savvy and aware professionals, which is more than there are today.

Third and final point: Why didn’t you do it in English?

The answer is, why don’t we do it in English?

Of course, I (and my wonderful publisher Luca Sossella) have learned from many mistakes in this first experience, and I am confident a second shot at it would probably turn out much better.

But it needs to be a collaborative experience. A global collaborative experience.

Does this ring a bell?
And it could be called something like, say, pr conversations?

whaddayousay? as one recent spammer wrote here the other day.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Toni, I know I sound like one of your awe-struck students and I also know that you don’t like that kind of thing, but I cannot help but say that this is an awesome, innovative undertaking. I did listen to it and tried very hard to understand, but I’m afraid that my rusted Spanish did not help me at all. (However, I did enjoy hearing you speak Italian for the first time)!

    With regards to your first point, I think it would be an ‘irresponsible’ undertaking NOT to leave almost 50yrs of experience behind, if one has it. I have always believed that one owes it to one’s profession to plow something back in your later years. I hate nothing more than wasted experience or unshared knowledge.

    With regards to your second and third points, I don’t think you need to worry. It always amazes me to see the quest for knowledge that students (especially mature ones) have. So it will be used. Anyhow, that is not your problem. You did what you had to do and now it is up to others to use it or not. It is certainly their loss if they don’t. I must say that I experience it as a tremendous loss that I can’t understand any of it.

    I know you said it would be better to repeat the exercise in English in other countries but I am not convinced that your effort shouldn’t be translated. However, it is certainly a challenge to think of a PRConversations effort. You have certainly set a good example, for which you have to be congratulated!

  2. Benita and friends,

    let us imagine that a few of us from different parts of the world committ to preparing one of an agreed number of topics and that we agree to a common visual format and length.

    then each of us facilitates one real-world session with one selected regional leader (preferably but not exclusively from practice) on that specific topic and some twenty middle to senior management professionals who agree to participate to the discussion with comments, questions and criticisms.

    All of course in the english language.

    I am absolutely confident that we can find an international publisher well willing to publish such a work, accompanied by a four/eight page leaflet of instructions for use, cv’s of facilitators and regional leaders and biliography.

    What do you say?

    Let me assure you that viewing an interactive session on the full screen of your computer is much more attractive than other channels of knowledge transfer.
    Also, all this could be directly linked to an ad hoc web site which you can reach by either typing in selected queries or just clicking on the dvd where you can find wiki to give your input and links to further related knowledge.

    It is one hell of a committment but it is also one hell of a way to attract global resources for the sake of all thos who are interested in improving.

  3. Toni, what I say is that we simply have to investigate the matter. It is well worth a try to see whether we can get enough interest.

    I am sure there will be interest. The trick will be to get the right people involved who will see it through. Off the top of my head I can think of many to ask but I don’t want to mention their names here since it places them under an obligation. Maybe all of us at PRC could put a list together and then you ask them if they are interested. If not, they could suggest other names in their countries.

    Some practical questions:
    –Do we also aim for a 12-hour video book?
    –How long do you propose the one session in different parts of the world should be? An hour or is that too short?
    –If an hour, it means we need 12 countries. You can count South Africa in.
    –Which topics did you address in your video book?
    –What format do you suggest?
    –Specific aim of the undertaking? Target audience?

    I have a suggestion. Maybe we should try to have at least one academic in each session, in addition to the practitioners. Such a voice represents education and research.

    Let’s hear from the others–not only PRC, but anybody interested, even if only with suggestions.

  4. Toni, why limit yourself to a format like a DVD? Instead of a publisher, why not find sponsors for different segments that could be published on a YouTube channel instead of a DVD, which relies on physical distribution. Surely you could reach more people through social media? That way it could continue to grow and be fed in a decentralized way, which truly would make it like a video PR Conversations.

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