It feels like a lifetime ago that I went to blogger and entered my first post and yet, it was a short two years ago. I had been lurking around, reading all of the PR and Marketing blogs that were talking about the “new” PR and I found myself talking back at these voices out there. So, I launched this blog to talk back, and to learn a thing or two about this new communication channel.
To celebrate, I went back to read my first post and was surprised that I was still pretty much in agreement with what I thought back then. Which is mostly that there is an important role for public relations in what has come to be known as social media.
Since it was my first post, there was not much discussion. So I am really interested to hear how you think this viewpoint is holding up over time.
So here it is, my first post reprinted, what do you think the role has become for PR in social media?
The funny thing about the new public relations is that it isn't new.
If you take a trip around the bloggosphere, you will read post after post about how the new media will liberate the corporation and render the PR hacks extinct. There was a rash of them last summer touched off by a rant by Russell Beattle and others and then summarized by Tim Bray in his theory about the new public relations.
However, I think that one big point wasn't adequately discussed in all of the chatter and demands a revisit of the conversation. Namely that public relations is more in demand than ever by corporations. Blogging, podcasting, RSS and all the “latest” media, which I agree has broadened the communication channels available, has only made the profession more “in demand.”
Let me explain.
The problem with the view (more like wishful thinking) that PR is on the way out the door is a self-inflated view of technology and an ignorance of function of public relations. I remember a time when people talked incessantly about the “paperless” office. I look around me and there are still stacks of paper everywhere I look — more paper actually. Why is this? Why didn't the paperless office and shorter workweek materialize?
Because a computer, and indeed ANY new technology is simply a tool to increase productivity. And we in America, and really around the world, have a love affair with year-over-year increases in productivity. Our whole economy, the stock market especially, hinges on this fact. If the market figures out a way to incorporate new technology to ratchet up productivity, it will take it over and possess it as if it was invented in corporate America! Once that happens (and it is happening), watch out…the quaint, happy little technological village becomes the big city.
So, will the PR profession change in the face of new technology? Sure, it will become more efficient. It will morph to use the tools it has been given. The function of public relations is to build a two-way relationship the public, customers, employees and stakeholders.
Sounds like a blogger to me.