Days That Will Live In Infamy

Pearl Harbor Day

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Today, December 8, is both the anniversary of the US entering World War II (after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7) in 1941 and the day John Lennon was murdered here in New York in 1980.

Watching this Associated Press video and seeing the two events – 39 years apart – represented side by side is somewhat eerie to me. And it also makes me realize there’s a whole generation of adult Americans out there who weren’t alive for either event and so have a limited appreciation for what each piece of history did to shape our consciousness as Americans.

THAT gets me thinking about how we communicate important messages to others – and how our words translate into emotions that have the ability to inform, educate and change the course of history in so many ways.

So as PR people, we face the same challenges as we work for our clients. While it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day “hit swarm,” we have to take a step back once in a while to see the aggregate effect of our messages and how they are altering the public consciousness:

Are we crafting and sending the right messages? And how are those messages being recieved? Are we educating people to the facts about the people we represent? Because at the end of the day, our work piles up into this big lump of information that’s catalogued and saved for eternity in a far off data center, waiting for someone to access later.

And one day, 40 years from now, someone will search for your client’s name online and come up with that article you placed. Or that video you uploaded. And they will base their opinions on what they read, see and hear. It will shape their understanding of their past – which is our present – and affect their world in unpredictable ways.

So what will you leave behind?


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