I’ve had a number of conversations recently with various people about social media and its impact on organisations. After many bungled, inarticulate attempts at explaining my thoughts I resorted to pen and paper.

Social Media and Organisations

So my hypothesis (and I’m sure its full of flaws) is that as social-media powered conversations start criss-crossing the ‘wall’ separating the organisation from the public,  the PR ‘gatekeepers’ who traditionally worked at the boundaries will end up in the background, monitoring and coaching all the newly empowered individuals that have now have ‘relations’ with the ‘public’. Meanwhile, the old-world media will increasingly report on and build stories from the public conversations happening in plain view.

Note: I have absolutely no background in PR so this is a bit of a stab in the dark based on my (probably ill-conceived) view of what PR folks do.

Interested in views on whether the picture should be tweaked (or even torn up!)

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3 comments until now

  1. At the moment there is still a need for controlled and approved media output, and a big launch can lose its impact for everyone if leaked – and there are market sensitive announcements that need managing carefully.

    I think that you are absolutely right about the changing roles of PR people. Internally, news production will need to spped and take a greater sense of urgency if you are to be first with your own story. External consultant will have to metamorphosise considerably into role of trusted advisor, as the inhouse role taks on new importance. The training element that you’ve identified is key.

    Exciting times with lots of opportunity for people prepared to move with the flow and keep learning – and who are prepared to experiment.

    There’s nothing static and the rule book is all turned upside down.

    There’s only one thing I’d challenge: I do think that PR is in the centre not the edge though – but of course, I may be biased!

  2. […] Confession: I have never downloaded a ringtone or used a Playstation — surely an indication that I’m vastly behind the times. Still, I’m an avid believer in the transformational power of technology, relying heavily on things like my EVDO mobile broadband connection and the use of google maps on my Centro when I get lost.  When it comes to social media, however, I’m just plain skeptical.  Twitter seems to be morphing into something moderately useful, Facebook has become a de facto replacement for e-mail, and LinkedIn is slowly dragging itself into the 21st century.  But a tweet from @peterjabraham today pointing out some “badass social media visualisations” left me cold. Who understands this stuff?  Thanks to @JimAnning, I finally got an explanation I understood. […]

  3. There’s an interesting article in The Economist this week about TV. Everyone, a few years ago, was predicting that it was going to go away. Fact is we’re now watching more TV than ever – it’s just that we watch it around and on top of social media (we multi-task). Same thing applies to PR. It’s still needed and PRs still need to do what they used to do. Because the fact is that journos are still tricky to reach and still have power because they own the media voice. Well known journos still command much bigger traditional audiences than bloggers. Increasingly they also command bigger social media audiences too. The BBC and Daily Telegraph blogs are more important than Joe Soap’s blog.

    The trick is to ensure that PRs cover new media channels as effectively as they used to cover old. Many PRs, however, are way behind embracing social channels. They need to catch up fast.

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