Everybody's talking about the inevitable social media fatigue setting in, but I myself am having a wicked case of brain blur. At any given time, my head is filled with ways to solve problems that often have no answer, as in trying to make sense of how to communicate in a world that is quickly only speaking in 140 characters or less. The pace at which we work now is beyond warp speed, and the window in which to look ahead when thinking strategy for PR -- and all disciplines -- is closing so fast that many of us are finding ourselves with fingers caught in the frame. (#ouchthatsmarts)
And it's not just the business of PR or business in general that's suffering from blur -- it's the whole world at large. It's a world where Amanda Knox is portrayed as a femme fatale, persecuted and tried for her crime, then released and is back on a plane to America faster than you can say, "I'll have fries with that, please." If marketers were smart, they'd immediately offer up some deals for her. McDonald's could send over a Big Mac and fries, Target could offer a shopping spree (but, dear Lord, no Missoni, please) or maybe Microsoft could make her a PC, for that inevitable best-seller she is surely penning as we speak. Oh, and that book will probably be available on Amazon, published by them, marketed by them and exclusively available on their new tablets. That's brain blur right there.
We are also in a culture of "tell if they ask" (#seeyadontaskdonttell), of a Wall Street that is occupied yet unorganized (#whatnoradiohead?), of Amazon snacking on Wal-Mart's heels (#feedthebeast) and Jeff Bezos looking to take over where Steve Jobs left off. It's all a mishmash of messaging and an endless topsy-turvy of high and low: Think Target and its wildly successful collaborations, and J.C. Penney targeting the discount consumer but with more of a high-end POV.
As PR people, we have to not only sock it to the newsmakers but also seed it to them -- once we identify who it is that is making news these days. Consider the recent Yahoo/ABC collaboration as further proof of all things blur. We need to make more noise. We need to answer, anticipate and respond with a staccato beat (and never miss said beat). We need to be awake, alive, excited and ready. We need to acknowledge that opportunity is the new power play. And those opportunities can come at any time of day, 24/7/365, so forget about sleeping.
If all this has you suffering a very real case of performance anxiety, fear not. Much is being said in this blurry world about how failure can be turned around to achieve great success; look at Steve Jobs, who at one point was ousted from Apple and went on to create an empire of "Think different." There's a fine line between failure and success, and therein lies the brain blur.
I'm reminded of that quote made famous in Ferris Bueller's Day Off: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." But I think the opposite is true now in this brain-blurred world we live in. Because if you stop too long to look around, you are going to miss it. Whatever "it" might be. Hey, Ferris, maybe it's best not to take that day off. Eyes wide open, people, eyes wide open, even if our brains are a bit blurry these days. (#bettergetnewglasses)
Follow Marian Salzman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mariansalzman