Matter Chatter

The (Wo)Man Who Knew Too Much

Ever heard the saying “ignorance is bliss”?  Of course you have.  We all have.  Some people even run a little too far with the idea.  But that’s another rant for another day.

I’ve always thought of PR professionals as the wizards behind the curtains.  We exist exclusively behind the scenes, preferring to go unmentioned, monitoring from afar, feeding key messages to spokespeople and strategically delivering inside scoops.  We are ghost writers, and we only occasionally emerge from the backdrop to network and share accolades among fellows of our community.

One thing I never really considered, though (prior to joining the industry), was the trust I would eventually lose.

Trust? What?

Yes, trust.

For example: a magazine is preparing a holiday gift guide, and as PR pros, we started pitching them in August to get our clients’ products represented appropriately. Come November, a consumer picks up the magazine and sees that So-and-so thinks that Such-and-such is the perfect gift for their neighbor’s dog.  And considering that So-and-so is the foremost expert on the needs of neighborhood pets, by golly, it must be true!

But is it?

Maybe not.

Now, I don’t mean to impugn the integrity of So-and-so, writers in general, or even PR pros.  The vast majority of writers and product reviewers are extremely discriminating about the goods they choose to discuss, especially in the wake of “Paid vs. Unpaid” mommy blogger controversy.  As for us, we’re responsible for bringing yet-unseen items to the attention of those writers and product reviewers, keeping them in the loop for the latest advancements and innovations in their industry that they might otherwise have missed.

Knowledge of the process, however, gives me a unique perspective that I sometimes wish I was without.  I’ll look at the same holiday guide, and instead of immediately noting down URL’s and pricing information, I wonder: is this really the best gift for my neighbor’s dog?  Or, back in August, was there one more open slot, and a friendly PR pro spoke up at just the right moment?

And the wonderment of an entire world of pet gifts is lost upon me.

What about you? Are there things you’ve learned that make you wish you could close the curtain once again?  Are there things you’ve learned that make you glad to be behind the curtain?