When describing what I do to someone who has only a vague idea of public relations or marketing I often start by saying that sometimes my job is to counsel a client on what NOT to say or what NOT to do; or how to fix something they should NOT have done.

I heard recently that publicists were no longer being called “press agents” but now are “suppress agents”. Love that.

Privacy coaches are becoming vogue too – now there is the business of the future. We are in a time where far too many people, of all ages, say whatever is on their minds with no filter — they snap photos, Tweet or put it on Facebook and wa-la it is in cyberspace forever!

Do you shudder when you read what some of your family and friends post on Facebook? I do and it takes great restraint not to give advice honed from decades of helping clients carefully choose the words, images and actions that create a brand.

Brands are the mirror reflection of a person or an organization and when you consider that elements of a brand can now be searched decades later –well I hope this suppress agent thing really catches on.

Some PR pros are insisting that clients, especially celebrities, pass all tweets, posts, media requests, blogs etc. etc. by them before they go live on the internet. As one expert put it “social media gives clients a new way to undo what we have spent years putting together”.

It’s not just words or photos going out over the Internet it is also behavior caught by cell phone cameras and posted in milliseconds that have an impact too. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons can haunt you for a lifetime.

Many of these privacy coaches are partnering with attorneys who know that image can change the game and public opinion is an important component of a legal dispute.

Social media and the internet have the ability to transmit information of all kinds; immediately. Sometimes that information is false or damaging and it can take years to regain a reputation if at all. But sometimes those same pathways can fix a falsehood and give a platform to innovation or a new voice of reason. Depends on who is at the controls.

This new way of communicating is here and now and we should all learn to love it, quirks and all.

The need for privacy and suppressing every thought or emotion has been with us for all time, and will continue to be.

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