logitech keyboard

They’re everywhere you go these days. Those four little letters have become famous quicker than the Fab Four in 1964. B.Y.O.D. Type it into Google News and you’ll get dozens of results – from today. Take a quick scroll down your favorite enterprise IT news site, whether it is CIO, Network World, InformationWeek, etc. and you’re nearly guaranteed to find them staring back at you in all their mysterious glory. Does it stand for an earth-shattering technological revolution? Is it the biggest thing to happen to business since email? Perhaps, but it’s really just referring to the phone in your pocket.

BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device, i.e. the use of personal mobile and computer devices for work purposes. Other, less catchy, phrases meaning roughly the same thing include the “consumerization of IT” and the enablement of a “mobile workforce.”

With important employee efficiency, mobility, and security concerns, BYOD is an essential topic for businesses to discuss. However, I find it quite interesting that it seems like it has only caught fire in the press over the past couple months. I would venture to guess that most readers of this blog have been using a personal mobile device for work for at least 18-24 months. Why the sudden super-cluster of articles now?

The BYOD Bonanza is indicative of a larger trend that we often see in today’s media: the contagion of story angles. In every industry there are now a plethora of news sites and publications. In order to keep up with the competition, journalists are now expected to write multiple articles per day, making it tough to continue to come up with new ideas their readers might find interesting. Therefore, if one publication or one journalist has an incredible view rate with a particular type of story, it provides an incentive for other journalists or publications to write a similar story. It requires less effort and time, because the story angle has already been mapped out, and there is hard evidence that the new piece will also be a hit with readers, based on page views. Pretty soon, like a virus, the same topic is being covered by many writers at many locations.

But still, why BYOD? Why did this particular angle find many hosts? I believe that there are two main reasons, which could come in handy for the PR organizations looking to develop the next hot trend:

  1. Universality – The topic has to apply to everyone. By “everyone” I do not mean the entire world needs to be intrigued by the topic, but instead it has to be universally applicable to the demographic of the particular publication. It is safe to say that BYOD is a concern, in some way, for the vast majority of CIO’s readers.
  2. Catchiness– You don’t see too many “consumerization of IT” articles. BYOD is a clever substitute term, one that immediately catches the eye of the reader to learn more about the subject, and is also easily memorable when browsing the web to find other stories on the topic.

What will the next hot topic in the IT press be? It is tough to determine – culture and society are dynamic entities and researching the market can’t always provide us with enough information to know how things evolve in the future. However, if you are able to apply your client’s services, products or expertise to it, be prepared for some excellent results!


This post was first published by Jason Fidler on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense, and may be viewed here.