Are online PR tactics making traditional practice obsolete?

May 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

The exponentially rising use of online social media has ushered in a new era of public relations that can communicate ideas instantly to a tremendously huge audience and most importantly allow two- way communication to truly exist in its optimal form.

Strategic use of twitter, Facebook and forums has enabled users to shape their media and interact fully with businesses and organisations desperate to gauge the wants and needs of their audience.  It has created more fluidity in business practice and seems more in keeping with the fundamental principles of Public Relations:

(As laid out by CIPR:  here)

        I.            Dealing fairly and honestly with clients

      II.            Competence and appropriate skill

    III.            Transparency

    IV.            Confidentiality

Online practice enables this due to the option of anonymity, the ease with which you can create and the speed of service.

Of course online PR does have a number of disadvantages, namely a lack of exposure to certain demographics such as the older, less computer literate generations and suitability with regards to the type of site you use to achieve your objectives (myspace.com for example is hardly going to have an impact on anyone who is not involved in the music industry or in their early teens). Poorly implemented blogs can seem pushy or laughably unprofessional and the increase in microblogging (i.e. Twitter) demonstrates that real- time messages leave little room for mistakes- once it’s out on the web it can be a PR disaster trying to keep misinformed or idiotic  comments from making a mockery of a person or organisation.

Despite this, professional and competent PR officers (which they are expected to be in the 21st century) can engage with a wider audience than via traditional means; print media is slowly dying and internet usage allows real- time reactions from the public and cuts out the need for professionals to negotiate their way through the press or advertising agencies.

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