As like most editors, much of my interaction with PR people is through email. This can lead to amusing realizations, like the time I attended an event and was introduced to a female rep when I was expecting a guy (she has a typically male name that can also be for a woman). And yesterday afternoon I was struck by how casual my communication has become with people I've never met face-to-face. I'm even guilty of using the dreaded emoticon.
I find I pick up on the cues of whomever I am "conversing" with, and as they become more casual, so do I. With many of my regular contacts, I've developed a friendliness akin to that of long-time real-life friends, and I wonder whether I am sacrificing professionalism for a cordial relationship. Does the medium – email – demand it?
Corinna vanGerwen is a freelance editor and writer. She has worked as senior editor at Style at Home, senior design editor at Cottage Life and is the former Canadian Director of Ed2010. She has also held the position of operations manager at a boutique PR agency, where she handled strategic planning and daily operations.