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Social Networking’s Impact on Public Relations

30 Nov

Through the rapidly growing use of social networking sites, the public relations industry cannot avoid being affected.

BY RACHEL SACCO, FRANCES NEGRON and CAROL CLAYMAN

TAMPA – With ever changing social networks, the evolution of the public relations field to stay on top, or one step ahead, has many questioning the future of PR.

Dennis Erokan of The Placemaking Group answers the question, “Is the death of public relations on the horizon?” in his blog is Web 2.0 /Social Networking the death of public relations. He says,” There is a lot of room for a good PR agency to grow and help their clients.”

Erokan explains how every industry goes through changes because of technology; a person either can rise to the occasion and master the new procedures or can go against the grain. Erokan says, “A good PR agency has to know how to use the technologies that are in place today.”

Dr. Kelli Burns, assistant professor at the University of South Florida’s School of Mass Communications, says social networks “create a more personal relationship between an organization and their publics, which can only help the organization’s efforts.”

Dr. Burns also says social networking allows PR agencies to connect with clients and consumers, which allows information to be pushed out “quickly, cheaply and easily” to the public.

According to Erin Portman, of Erin Portman PR in Austin, Tex., one of the most influential Internet-based trends that are currently affecting public relations is Twitter. “It enables you on top of up-to-the-second trends and what is making news, which are both at the core of what we do,” she says.

Websites such as Linkedin.com and Twitter.com are providing people with the option of representing themselves on the rapidly expanding Internet. This allows people to represent themselves exactly how they choose to and it offers them exposure to the entire world.

Though these growing trends are having an affect on public relations, Portman believes this has generated many more opportunities for those who are in, or are going into, the public relations field.

Todd Defren, social media and public relations innovator, says, “When people talk about the ‘death of public relations,’ it doesn’t bother me at all…they are talking about the death of media relations.”

Defren doesn’t think public relations is changing, but he does believe it is evolving in a positive way. He sees public relations being more involved with the public than it has been in the past, rather than dealing directly with the media.

Dr. Kelly Werder, associate professor and director of graduate studies at USF’s School of Mass Communications, talks about her opinion on social networking and public relations.

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