I gave a presentation on podcasting recently. The host was a small private college. As a thank you gift, the PR director gave me a lovely spiral bound book with the college name and seal embossed in gold on the cover. Inside was a pen.
The pages were blank . Given the beauty of the book, I took it that it was to be used as a diary.
I thought about that gift a lot. Because I spent many years writing daily notes in tons of notebooks, it really hurt to throw the book away. I don’t mean any disrespect to the PR director. I suspect thousands of PR, alumni and development folks are giving out things like these.
And I bet no one uses them. Certainly few people under the age of, say, 50, are making notes with a pen in a spiral bound notebook. Even grandparents have migrated to computers to exchange emails and photos with their children and grandchildren.
The notebook drove home the realization that the days of holding a pen in your hand and physically creating words on paper are pretty much over. That’s not an insight that’s going to rattle anyone’s brain but holding something so regal, expensive and useless made me realize again how much our culture and way of doing business has changed.
If you give out gifts like this, you should rethink how you’re spending your money.
I kept the pen for my post-it notes.