Do you have to know about tech to do tech PR? I’m hoping not, because hardly anyone seems to know hardly anything.
My background is fairly techy I guess. I had a ZX81, and a ZX Spectrum. I did a degree in IT. I’ve been a programmer at a large bank (lasted about six months), a technical author for a financial software house, a designer at a multimedia hardware company, and a publications manager for another financial software house.
So, whereas I wouldn’t say I’m deeply into tech, it’s always been around me. I just enjoy it. I especially enjoy the creativity it affords me (I’m also into home-based music production based on a PC – warning, yes, this is me, download of about 6.5MB MP3). And, in turn, it gives me an appreciation of what I’m writing about, or the nature of the messages we’re trying to promote.
But it often strikes me that the people I work alongside know diddly squat about it. As in, almost zero knowledge, across the board. Recent episodes have involved someone wondering why it took longer for their home page to load because they’d set it to a corporate website rather than, say, a blank page or Google (yes, you see those pictures…?); being asked why I would want to save something as a separate graphic file rather than a Word file (still not sure about that one); and someone taking two hours to install a printer on their machine (how long…?).
I know there’s an argument that ‘non-technical’ people (whatever that means) might be better at tech PR because they get a new, fresh angle on what’s good about it, and the mechanics of PR should operate no matter what specialism you adopt.
But I do think there are often astonishing gaps in people’s knowledge which, to my mind, put them below the bar for truly grasping what they’re actually supposed to be talking about.
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