Archive for May, 2012

Communicators vs the IT department- Challenges of New Media

20 years ago, the internet at work was solely the realm of IT experts.  With today’s constantly connected life and the increased use of social platforms to communicate with an organization’s audience, PR and communications professionals need access and influence over technological matters.

As “social media” has evolved over the past decade, I have seen it placed under IT, Marketing and PR.  Early on, nobody seemed to know where to put it.  Luckily it has largely become part of an organizations Marketing or PR departments, if not given its own place.  Where social communications are placed does have a critical impact on their usage, but that is another subject altogether.

Even with social media’s shift to communications, in many organizations, IT still plays a large role.  This article gives suggestions on overcoming those issues.

In addition to those suggestions, it is becoming increasingly important for communicators to understand the use of new tools.  This may begin to include basic IT functions, particularly in smaller organizations.  However, the need for PR experts remains.  As technology continues to find its way into every corner of our lives, it is important that communicators have access to all of these tools.

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Content and PR in the Digital Age

As the internet and social media have changed the way we communicate, it has become increasingly important for organizations to be active and involved online.  Without content, this is difficult.  PR practitioners must be able to assist in the development of content as part of a larger communications plan.

Through quality content, effectively disseminated online, any organization can become a go-to source for information relevant to their field.  As your organization produces useful content, it will be easier for people to find you online and you will have effective material for growing your community on social sites.

Check out this article for some great tips on producing effective content.

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PR- More than just communicating.

Communications specialist.  That is the term I most frequently use to describe myself.  Of course my degree is in PR and I work in social media, doing a nice little blend of PR, Marketing and Customer Service.  So rather than that mouthful, I use communication to describe it all.  That is what I do.  You see, in addition to PR background, I studied International Relations, where I also saw myself as a communicator.  Back then I wanted to be a diplomat.  I still see myself as a diplomat, but for organizations communicating with their public.

This author however, makes some valid points about the continued need to define ourselves as Public Relations experts.

In PR, we not only have to know how to communicate.  We have to know who we are communicating with, how to plan and strategize communications.  More importantly, those working in PR need the expertise to guide an organizations actions, not just the ability to explain them.

What do you think?  Is it better to be a PR or a Communications “expert?”

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Continued Relevance of Social Media

In the past few weeks as news and media organizations have raised a clamor over Facebook’s coming IPO I have seen several variations of this article.  All of them with a lovely gloom and doom tone for Facebook.  Many of them through implication also spell gloom and doom for social media in general.

I have a problem with this.  First of all, even if Facebook were to decline (and someday it likely will), the trend will be for something more useful to replace it (remember when Facebook obliterated MySpace?).  A Facebook demise does not spell the end for social networks.  In fact, social media is increasingly becoming more relevant in how we carry out business (You can read all about that here or watch this for a nice summary).

These articles sounding the end of Facebook all seem to rely on two pieces of information.  First, a large company is pulling paid advertisements from the site.  Second, a study shows that a large number of users distrust Facebook and social sites.

In response to the fear of companies pulling paid advertising, I would say that is to the consumers benefit (though Facebook misses out on some money).  This shows me that companies are learning the value of interaction and engagement as opposed blasting ads at people (Adblock anyone?).  The challenge this brings to platforms like Facebook is to either survive on less revenue from advertising or innovate a new business model.

Regarding the distrust of users, it would appear to me, that this isn’t stopping people from using the site.  At least not in droves.  While many, including myself have privacy concerns, they still continue to use social media.  In fact, users increased concerns with privacy raises my hopes for privacy improvements by social sites, as well as more educated and aware users.  Increases in the kind of people who don’t post every personal detail of their own and their children’s lives- but that is a post for another time.

All of this being said, it is clear that many people still don’t understand the lasting implications of social media.  In reality this is not a fad as a recent study showed many people think, but the latest innovation in communication.  Over the past decade, as the web has matured and become accessible to an incredibly large segment of the global population, as technology has allowed for mobile internet use, social media has risen to become one of the many great communication tools to harness all of this innovation.

What do you think?  Is social media the communication tool of the future?  Or will it quickly succumb to something even more innovative and advanced?  Or do you stand with those who view this all as a fad?  Those who see me typing my future diatribes from a typewriter and faxing them in to a newspaper to be printed as an Op-Ed piece, which I will then clip from the paper so I can show it to all of my friends and relatives before I snail mail it to Grandma (via a financially successful USPS of course).

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