A recent USA Today article asked the question, with so much information reaching us, are we becoming too distracted? Are we losing focus? Has always-on technology got us grazing on superficial information instead of digging into issues? And what does this mean for public relations campaigns that are trying to cut through the clutter? 

It is now de rigueur for meetings to begin with the admonition, "Please turn off your cell phones." Yet you see people surreptitiously peeking at their Blackberries, unable to avoid the siren call of the e-mail and Web alert. A quick glance, and back to the meeting. Wait - did I miss something important? Why is everyone looking at me? 

On the other hand, some people believe that we are better served with a surplus of information. They think that we can adequately filter the data being offered, finding relevance and placing priorities on the information we are receiving. We do it now, as we filter out the junk e-mails, spam, and innocuous snippets our friends send us while focusing on the important e-mails that we need to do business. 

This type of "information overload" poses a challenge to marketers. How do you break through and gain mindshare when people are flitting from one topic and information source to another? Relevancy and positioning become paramount. Advertising won't do the trick. Marketers need to locate customers where they live and gain access to them through trusted and relevant channels - the sweet spot of public relations.