Shouts rang out through the ‘Kean for Governor’ headquarters when that first fax went through – and after only seven minutes. Can you imagine? We were excited that the transmission arrived from our office in Union, N.J. to Washington, D.C. in ONLY seven minutes. Ah, communications ‘back then.’
Carl Golden tapped away at his manual typewriter (boy, he was the fastest two-finger typist, ever). I was stationed outside his office with an electric typewriter and a big bottle of Wite-Out. Carl had to give up his manual typewriter for an electric model once we got to the State House in 1982. None of us had a computer.
One of our first clients in 1989 was Bell Atlantic Mobile. We were required to buy a phone and have it installed in our cars, at our expense…$2,000! Bell Atlantic Mobile again led the way from a technology standpoint making us give up answering the office phones for a fancy voicemail system so they could leave messages easier. They were also first to require consultants to use a form of email, communications involving a remote box that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that we had to fax releases to newsrooms – or even mail news releases to mailboxes – and hope someone saw or opened them. My, how times – and communication methods – have changed!
Today’s technology has made access to any media easier and certainly faster. Email addresses for journalists, editors and reporters are often tagged at the end of every story, and they use Facebook and Twitter, so getting to know them and what they’re interested in from a news standpoint has never been easier. And while the fine art of grabbing a cup of coffee with a reporter isn’t entirely gone, it’s much more common to establish rapport with a reporter by connecting with them online.
We live in an age of instant communications, and I must sound like a dinosaur telling these tales of old, but someone out there will remember those days fondly. Care to share any early technology stories? Comment below or tell us on Facebook!
About the Author:
Liz Thomas is an award-winning public relations professional and CEO of Thomas/Boyd Communications. Now in her 25th year as a small-business owner, Liz credits much of her success in the communications field to her early public relations and government affairs training in the press office of New Jersey Governor Tom Kean. Liz is constantly on-the-move, providing strategic direction, crisis communications consults and overseeing clients’ day-to-day public relations activities. Her enthusiasm for her clients carries into her “down time,” as well – she serves as board chairperson for Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice and vice chair of NJTV and is actively involved as a volunteer for The Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Camden.