Sunday, May 06, 2007

And In Conclusion...

Well my time with this particular blog has came to an end and this shall be my final post focusing solely on PR and technology.

No need to get upset people I severely doubt that it will be the last blog I ever do, if i have learned anything in the past 10 weeks it is that PROs must check out social media and evolve with the changing times and more than anything that means BLOGS!!!!!!

During my first lecture on PR and Technology way back in the 20th February I sat staring at the, at that time, slightly optimistic Derek slightly bewildered as he told the class that we would spend the next ten weeks blogging, now as I said in my first post I had no idea at all about this concept.

Well I am happy to say that I have done it, I have overcame my fear of the unknown and blogged!

Yes, Derek was optimistic in thinking that we would all warmly accept this new media and would turn into new media geeks but he was right to believe that we could all do it.

Anyway no point giving him an ego (unless it gets me extra marks) so I shall continue in my conclusion...

The next lecture was on "Implications for PR" and this gave me some food for thought over the following weeks and ended in me writing an essay discussing whether ICTs will eventually become integrated in existing practice or whether PR needs to be reinvented to fit a new digital world.

Guess what, I don't know what will happen but here are the points I have either came to a conclusion on or are just generally bothering me:

Where do people find the time? This is one thing that I have struggled with during this assignment. People who blog socially and for no particular reason, seriously where do they get the time. I mean i have only got a part time job and a uni course to complete and I find it very hard to find the time to sit in front of the laptop to write on the blog. How do people with families and full time jobs do it? Derek?

Have my studies been worthwhile? I think they have been as I am now more aware of evolving communication medias and what i have to do in order to stay on track but what about the traditional theories, well in my opinion through ICTs the epitome of PR, Grunig's two way symmetric communication (1984), can be achieved.

Honesty: With the Internet honesty us more important than ever and that is something which must never be forgotten or one will be caught out.Relationships: ICTs allow for the building of stronger relationships between audiences and stakeholders due to dialogue now being more akin to conversation as opposed to the mass media shouting that happened so frequently in the past.

Integration: Whether it is in further integration and interaction of stakeholders or the simple integration of new media vehicles into traditional practice. For the moment it simply a case of using new ICTs along with traditional methods in order for them to compliment each other.

Who knows what will happen in the future, I might even become an advocate for technology and spend my time ranting to my poor subordinates that they must check and update their blogs!

The biggest lesson I have learned... no one has all the answers so therefore no one knows what technology has in store for the practice of public relations so let us just sit back and enjoy the ride!

Adios amigos
Hasta Luego!

Grunig, J.E; Hunt, T. (1984) Managing Public Relations, Holt Rinehart and Winston, New York

Monday, April 30, 2007

Online Relationships

What is public relations?

Don't worry I don't expect you to answer that questions and please do not expect me to give you an answer as I will be here all day despite coming towards the end of the MSc.

Anyway a lot of academics and practitioners alike believe that PR is all about relationships, whether it is building, forming, strengthening even destroying. During a lecture we had on the 20th March we discussed how online communication effects relationships with publics, audiences and stakeholders. Since then I have thought about how the concept of relationship management has evolved as a result of technology.

The level of interactivity taken place between organisations and stakeholders has reached an all new level but more importantly the level of interaction between stakeholders themselves has grown rapidly and it is this, that i believe, poses the greatest threat to organisations.

Whilst writing a recent essay I came across many articles that focused on this concept, none more so than one by Richard Edelman (2000). In this he proposes the idea that PR can no longer rely on the "pyramid" concept which has readily been used in the past for filtering out information to appropriate stakeholders. Now, he believes, PROs should focus on "the sphere of cross influence" which illustrates this high level of interactivity amongst stakeholders. In my humble opinion this is what should be getting taught in all communication classes and it confuses me as to why more people haven't picked up and debated the concept.

Stakeholders are cheating on the organisation with other stakeholders and forming ever lasting, strong relationships unlike the casual relationships they have with their chosen organisation.

Yes, I admit it i am watching an episode of sex and the city just now which may be why I have just wrote that statement but I do still believe it to be true.

The lesson to be learned is, keep an eye on your stakeholders as they are currently cheating on you with other stakeholders.


Edelman, Richard (2000) “Public Relations Is The Navigator Of The New Media Economy” Journal Of Communication Management, Volume 5, Number 4

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Can Online PR Be Evaluated?

This question was put to the PR and Technology class today and we all just looked at Derek, our long suffering lecturer, as though he should know the answer just like he appears to know the answer to every other question we have about PR and technology.


He doesn't know the answer!!

Is there an answer? Anybody?

I decided to have a look in to what other people are saying about this subject and came across Tom Watson's blog Dummysplit where one posting discusses the replacement of AVEs. Watson correctly points out that "any media coverage was generated to support the campaign objectives and wasn’t an end in itself." So if the majority of objectives set for campaigns are about "measurable objectives in terms of getting support, helping reach sales targets, building awareness of an issue or cause" why are practitioners so focused on advertising equivalent spendature?

In my opinion, for those of you who care, AVE does not work with online PR and as yet there are no models suitable for the evaluation of new and social media. Is online PR merely an ego boost for those innovators pushing the cause of social media or is it a trustworthy and reliable medium for conducting campaigns? Both? I think every campaign that uses social media needs to have its own formula for evaluating the success or failure as it depends on why it is being used.

Evaluation and online PR will be a subject that needs much research over the next five years before we can truly say it is a worthwhile and valuable tool.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Is PR To Far Ahead?

Whilst reading The Metro today on my lunch break one of the news articles caught my attention "Porn Lurking On Teenage Blogs"

The article is about the adult content of teenagers blogs' and their use of MySpace and You Tube. What intrigued me was that the journalist appeared to be surprised by the fact that teenagers use the net for unsavoury purposes. Is it just me or has this been common knowledge for many years.

I mentioned the article to those i was having lunch with and they too were surprised at the journalists dismay and scepticism of these types of sites.

Last year Kevin Overbury wrote in the Behind The Spin blog about the term "new media" entering into the industry's consciousness and how practitioners were slowly learning enough about the concept to offer clients " a genuinely comprehensive service" and considering that this was wrote almost a year ago I think it is safe to say that the term is now firmly etched on the minds of the majority of practitioners.

This is all well and good but have the PR and Web 2.0 / 3.0 Innovators and Early Adopters, (as described in the Diffusion of Innovation theory by Everett Rogers 1962) realised that society in general hasn't quite grasped the concept and even those at the heart of communication, i.e journalists, are still surprised about what goes on in the blogosphere and cyber space in general? Is public relations in danger of being too knowledgeable on the subject and therefore potentially out of touch with certain market segments? As for wanting to continually learn and invent more new social media should we maybe wait till those we want to communicate with catch up a bit?

These links should be of interest.

Rogers, EM (1995) Diffusion of Innovations, Fourth Edition, The Free Press, New York

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Is Social Networking Turning Back Time?

Last Thursday I gave my presentation on Social Networking and PR and to say it was met with a load of old scepticism would be an understatement!!

If this ICT is all singing and all dancing then why have very few practitioners actually took up the opportunity because as far as I can see it is used more by pubs and clubs than any other organisation, and from what I can see they are not really using it that well!

Anyhow when researching the subject it made me think that maybe, just maybe, is PR going back to its roots whereby market segmentation and targeting messages are the core factors in a successful campaign.

I believe very strongly that segmentation is crucial to the success of a campaign then again that may be the result of coming from a marketing background. What struck me with social networking and certain other social media is the endless opportunity to segment and target over and over again, an organisation can even target one specific person if it so wishes. So yet again I have to ask, why is this not being fully utilised? Instead PROs are focusing on blogs, wikis, fancy online press releases etc etc but lets be honest by doing this are we possibly neglecting more markets than we are actually tapping into? How many average teenagers that you know have a blog? Now think, how many average teenagers have a Bebo, MySpace, Faceparty page?

I am aware that this posting is more about me asking questions than answering any but from my little experience with ICTs and 'PR 2.0' i think more questions need to be asked rather than PROs simply taking it for granted that these things work just because someone the other side of the big massive pond says so.

Can anyone answer my questions?


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Networking and Society

Whilst reading the 16th March issue of PR Week I came across a news item "Braben promotes mobile networking service Pitch" by David Quainton. Until then I hadn't heard of social networking via mobiles except from the ones advertised late at night on channel 5.

Basically Pitch Entertainment Group have came up with, what they claim, is the first MySpace style site for mobile phones. It sounds as though the site will be pretty much the same as the ones accessed via computers with the only catch being that users will have to agree to receive 3 advertising messages a week

After this I read a blog by Linda Roeder ( that really made me think about communication within society in general and the relationships society has with public relations organisations without even realising it.

Within society have we lost the ability to have a one on one conversation over lunch and instead feel we can only communicate our true feelings if we type it? I know people whos best friends are people they have never met and instead have got in contact with via these sites. Is this normal? I use Bebo everyday but to be honest its simply just an amusing was to waste time not an intentional networking activity. But then again seen as how the entire world can access my page should I be acting more like Deborah the aspiring consultant or Debz the never going to grow up student.....

As a society are we so scared about not being in constant contact with people that we will open up our lives to advertisers at any given opportunity?

As a profession does public relations bear a lot of the responsibility for turning us into this sort of society?

Where does it stop, or will it? It wasn't that many years ago that when a mobile phone started ringing on a bus that everyone turned round and tried to listen to the conversation. Now when we listen to those conversations and we hear the name of a network site we wonder if what their username is so we can check their page and find out more about what they are talking about. Some may think this is an extreme point to make but considering the past four phone calls I have been part of have had one of these sites mentioned then maybe it is taking over our lives more than we think.

What do yout think?

The social networking blog site has some interesting articles, check it out

Debz - the eternal student

I'M Back

Hi there,

I am aware that I have totaly negelcted this thing in the past couple of weeks, sorry Derek! I dont really have an excuse except from I have had to travel to London an annoying amount of times in order to get myself a job. Well thank god it wasnt a complete waste of time and I have been offered one.

I have been carrying out ongoing research into the use of social networking for a presentation so i now have a lot of views on that which i will be teling you all about over the next day or so so expect at least another 5 posts by the end of the week to make up for me being missing in action