A friend sent me this article from today's USA Today about the tech bubble most of our kids live in today and how it affects -- or more accurately, I guess, detracts from -- their ability to develop social skills. At the top of this list is the issue of respect.
I've blogged before about this on occasion (link summary here) and my thinking goes beyond the superficial "these kids these days" head-shaking. I have little doubt that our civilization is less civilized, more aggressive, more self-centered, angrier and has a very well-developed sense of entitlement. The current teen generation embodies that particularly well, though my experience in general with today's yutes is overall positive.
What's interesting in the article is that, predictably, many young people who now have to interact with others to accomplish an objective (perform at a job, get into college) have no clue how to do it. They're very surprised -- offended, even -- when the world lets them know there could be consequences to you behaving like an uneducated ass.
PR is public relations -- relating to your publics (again, repeat: it is not press release). Let's get all theoretical here and say the world is your public and it's your expectation to be treated with respect. That is a very reasonable expectation. But to get it, obviously, you have to give it. This goes for you, big shot, when you go into the interview (that your PR firm put its credibility on the line for) with the editor and then tell him he "doesn't get it." It goes for you, keyboard coward, when you fly off the handle at anyone who dares disagree with you. It goes for you, know-it-all, when you don't give latitude to your co-workers to do their jobs well.
Soliciting respect in PR means opening your ears, wide, and listening carefully to what your customers, colleagues, competitors, and others have to say before opening your own mouth. And it can't hurt to learn a few of the social graces, either.