Monday, May 11, 2009

And I Shall Smite Them with My Social Media Hammer of Justice

The second great narrative about PR is the shiny tool. In the last two decades there has been an endless supply of new tactics and applications that have changed the profession forEVAH.


Many of them have to a degree: at least in the sense that where practitioners spend most of their time – at least as a team – has changed dramatically. For example, PR pros very rarely walk into a newsroom and sit next to a journo’s desk to pitch a story anymore. When was the last time you ran 400 copies of a news release? Or licked a stamp?

Yeah, it’s like that.

Today the shiny new (NEW!1!) tool is something called … wait for it … social media. Social media will bring on the golden age of public relations. Or, social media will destroy and/or replace public relations as a business discipline.

Or something.

Todd Defren touched on a little bit of this several weeks ago. What Todd misses is that many organizations will accept the “PR is soo over” narrative and shoot themselves in the foot. While he and I have to let good people go write crappy blogs like this one.

See? Nobody wins.

We can’t worry too much about what propeller-heads think about what we do. Historically the people who create technology either vastly overestimate or underestimate its impact.

Short version: They have no idea.

The point here, is that if the value you deliver to your clients or your employer can be changed radically by a new a technology …

wait …

If YOU have changed radically the way you support or advise your clients or your employer because of changes in technology, be afraid.

Be very afraid.

Fear change because you are using a distribution model. Channels of distribution for information always have evolved. Right now, we’re picking up the pace. If you or your agency sees public relations as a tactical exercise, you’re … well … screwed.

You’re focused on HOW.

Public relations is about WHAT.

The other Ws (who, when, where, why) remain. This is where you live because it’s the basis of your relationship with all the audiences that influence your mission.

Because I get angry emails I’m compelled to point out that I’m one of the organizers of something called Cincy Social Media. I don’t hate the technology, I embrace it. But while technology changes, the basics do not.

These are simple truths:

People trust people more than they trust organizations.

People are social animals: they like to be with a crowd of folks that seem to be like them whether for support or affirmation.

Sharing is fun: Everybody likes to feel smart, whether they’re teaching the neighbor kid how to grip a slider or telling a co-worker about the hot new club.

Face-to-face interaction trumps any electronic interaction. That’s why in the face of iPhones and MySpace we still have MeetUps and TweetUps.

There are plenty more, but they come down to this: Real life matters.

But what matters most in real life is your message. And your message had better be based on What. You. Do.

Public Relations is absolutely not (just) about Telling Your Story. Neither is it remotely related to how many people follow your Tweets. Or fan your FaceBook page.

Image Cred: ripped from Ross Training who actually offers cool ideas on how to work out on the cheap. No kidding.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

>>If YOU have changed radically the way you support or advise your clients or your employer because of changes in technology, be afraid.<<

Amen. The golden rules always apply.

I also like people to focus on the why before the what. But yeah, I am agreeing with you.