As a publicist, a thirtysomething, a GenXer and a single woman, I am often contemplating the evolution of communication in the new millennium and how we define relationships nowadays. Us GenXers are a bit of the old and a bit of the new: we remember when fax showed up on the scene and our first emails sent. We remember a time before Facebook and social media jargon. We personally have owned over five cell phones at least but remember a time without them. A big group of us are products of divorce and have tried our hand in marriage once or even twice and have failed or succeeded. With all of the options to define relationships these days, when do we really know someone?
My job as a publicist is to find the best ways to communicate with press, stylists, bloggers, consumers, clients and the world. We, for all intents and purposes, should be the cutting-edge communicators. I learned the business of PR with paper Rolodexes and hand shakes. We built relationships. Deskside meetings with editors were key (and are still to me) and my press relationships were forged over coffee, cocktails and time spent. You knew people. I knew if they were single, married, kids or no kids, hated pink, knew how to ride motorcycles and more. My professional (and personal) world is on an aggressively evolving roller coaster and there are more ways than ever to communicate with those you need to pitch and stay in touch with. I have a database of over 500 bloggers that I work with regularly and yet have never met. It's marvelous. My industry thrives on every new option of communication. Social media has provided many more wonderful communication platforms professionally and personally for us all. Yet with all the social media avenues and all the new "relationships" we forge every day online, I always ask the question, who do we really know?
On Sunday August 23, 2009 in the New York Times appeared a wonderful Op-Ed piece by Porochista Khakpour entitled, Finally 'Thirtysomething'? She comically explored the realistic thirtysomething and where we really see ourselves in the world and truly are for that matter. She reminisced on how we grew up, what our realities were and then wrote about how we got to be who we are. She describes the "Thirtysomething" perfectly. "My friends are still all broke, say 'whatever' too much, still live in Converses and constant hangovers, still yell at their parents on the phone and two seconds later ask for money and possibly a place to crash, are still deferring college loans and say everything is the new something-else, including the 30s which are the new 20s."
I say we are as good as our relationships but these days we can define them in a multitude of ways. Do you know someone if you meet them on Facebook? If you follow them on Twitter, do you feel like you know what they are thinking? Can you fall in love online, on text or on the phone before meeting in person? Our parents could not, but can we? What are our true friendships? GenXers have created all of these new roads of relationships but are we lonelier than any other generation has ever been. GenXers are special. We have the fortune of experience in built friendships that took time to build and are masters of modern-day social networking. As we celebrate all the new ways we can build and maintain relationships this GenXer still feels to really know someone I will have to be able to look in to their eyes. I love my new virtual frontier of professional and personal contacts but miss the old school getting to know you.
GenXers: I love you, stop by sometime, don't just text, remember how great it can be if you just take the time. You remember.