Not so much a comment on the world of PR more a comment on the state of the world and how that bears on us as practitioners.

People working in PR have always been interested in new ways to communicate with and engage others. As such we tend to be early adopters of technology – e-mail and web sites were quickly taken up, blogging, twitter and social media are all now core components of any PR plan. But what of those people who aren’t quite as literate in the new technology?

I was running a course this weekend on writing and producing newsletters – it’s all pretty traditional stuff covering editorial values and design and uses MS Publisher as the platform to design the publications delegates work with.

Now, bearing in mind the delegates are volunteer PR Officers for the bodies they work with, you would expect there would be a decent level of basic  IT knowledge – yet some struggled with basic tasks such as managing folders and copying and pasting material.

This isn’t a one off – on almost every workshop I run involving IT of some sort I find similar problems.

What strikes me most is how this lack of basic skills – even in a group of people who would be expected to use IT on a frequent basis – is never far below the surface.

Like illiteracy though few admit to it and most try to hide the fact they are not comfortable with the tools they are using. It’s a real case of getting back to basics and whilst I applaud organisations looking towards new media solutions for their fundraising and member engagement we should never lose sight of the fact that not everyone is as comfortable with technology, and that even colleagues working on technologically reliant activities need to be assessed to ensure they have the appropriate skills.