Thursday, 28 January 2010

Is transparent New Media a challenge to the power of PR

The internet may have revolutionised the practice of PR, the way PR professionals communicate and the nature of communication itself - CIPR even has a set of social media guidelines. New media has brought about eventualities that were never before considered possible, like sending out a press release to the press whereas at the same time competitors can access it. This is the type of transparency that faces PR professionals. But does it challenge the power of PR?

It may in some ways, given that PR has always taken a back seat and relied on third party endorsements. On the other hand, social media is vital for PR as it offers unlimited opportunities for the PR professionals to use this medium intelligently and effectively. Every organization wants transparency and the new media is just the right ingredient in ensuring that the public does not doubt the fact that transparency is at the forefront of every organization's agenda. It provides a framework for good practice. I agree with Phillips and Young's argument that the authentic voice of organizations that flows through the corporate shell has tremendous impact outside and may be part of a managed process of making organizations more competitive (p. 47).

The growth of social media tools such as Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and of virtual communities, virtual environments and information sharing sites and blogs has made the PR professional think critically of how to deal with all aspects of PR in light of new media. Talk of Crisis communication and New Media, Internal Comms and New Media, Political PR and New Media...PR and New Media is unlimited.

That however has only but improved the way PRs explore and experiment with new technologies and new ways of thinking to get messages across in an environment that has been made far more transparent thanks to social media. More than ever before, it is the actions of the organizations that shape reputation and not the image crafted for that organization by other parties.

Phillips and Young(2009), Online Public Relations: A practical guide to developing an online strategy in the world of social media (2nd ed.), CIPR, Kogan Page, London.

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