It’s time to share another view of the communications industry through CIPR Communications’ ‘Masters in Comms’ blog series where we feature a new professional that has proven to be a true Master of Communications in their respective field. Every week we feature a new professional that has proven to be a true Master of Communications in their respective field.
Our goal? To learn from one another! There are valuable lessons to be learned from fellow communicators – from risks they took to advice that motivates them to ensure their life balanced.
In this week’s blog, we hear from Cam Gordon, Head of Communications at Twitter Canada. Cam is a seasoned public relations practitioner who has been working with some of North America’s largest brands for more than 10 years.
“The biggest challenge is the increasingly noisy media environment…”
- Cam Gordon
Q: What is the best piece of professional advice you ever received? Who provided it?
A: Probably my dad in university during a guest lecture he gave to the McMaster HR Society... which I was the VP of BTW(!!!). I'm paraphrasing but he gave some very basic advice: lose the attitude, be grateful, be kind, work hard. It was incredibly simple and obvious, but poignant at the same time. Also, good life advice in general IMO.
Q: What project would you consider your most significant career accomplishment to date?
A: Many to choose from, but leading Canadian PR for Twitter during the 2015 federal election comes to mind. Looking forward to seeing how our approach and tactics will evolve in late summer/fall 2019.
Q: What is the biggest challenge and opportunity for communicators today?
A: The biggest challenge is the increasingly noisy media environment and the lack of hard proof about where, how and why people consume the information they do.
The biggest opportunity IMO is the broadening range of outlets that have potential to be communications vehicles. There are still traditional media outlets like newspapers, TV and radio stations but also websites, blogs, newsletters, podcast, short-form video, Q&As, etc. "Communications" feels like a very different industry than the one I joined in 2004.
Q: What do you do to keep your brain sharp?
A: Consuming anything in long form with focus. Books, podcasts, albums, "long reads" on websites, etc.
Q: Best podcast on your radar right now?
A: Reply All for tech weirdness. The Savage Lovecast for interpersonal weirdness. Baseball Tonight with Buster Onley for nerdy MLB non-weirdness.
Q: Where do you see communications five years from now?
A: I wish I knew. I don't think anyone does. I could definitely see "communications" continue to shift to a field based more on video, visuals and symbols and less on words. However, good writing and good opinion will always have a home somewhere.
Q: What advice would you give someone that is just entering the field of
A: Read (and absorb) as much as news content as possible. High brow. Low brow. All sides of the political spectrum. All corners of the world. The key is staying current in how (and why and when) other humans are consuming information. This changes constantly. Make your best efforts to keep up with the shifts.
Q: What do you know today, you wish you knew when you started your career?
A: There's a time to work and a time to chill (to sorta quote Pete Seeger).
Q: What drives you crazy?
A: People who have conversations in door ways and at the tops of escalators. Human pylons.
Q: Is it better to be under dressed or over dressed?
A: Over dressed... says the guy who wears jeans and sneakers 90% of the time.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you know and why?
A: There are many but professionally speaking, Jennifer Hollett was one of the most uniquely talented people I ever had the pleasure of working with. We had many deep chats about social justice, 1990s indie rock, social media angst and many other of my favourite topics.