Web 3.0: Where will technology take public relations next?
The dust has settled, leads have been entered and so ends another successful PRSA conference. My colleague, Kevin McFall and I had the pleasure of leading one of the breakout sessions at the show this year and our topic was one very near and dear to our hearts as we strategize toward the future of PR for Cision – PR and The Web 3.0 Revolution.
Of course, everyone wants to know and understand where technology will take the PR industry – how social media has changed the landscape of the PR lifecycle, what tools will be available to help keep tabs on it and exactly who the heck we are supposed to be targeting now with relevant pitches and messages.
While our presentation did not provide the holy grail of solving all these angles (we will save that story for our 18-part Product Roadmap Series coming to you over the next several months at this very blog), we started with a concept that seems to be overlooked frequently and one that is quite important to recognize when grappling with the changes social media has brought with all these new influencers to target.
We highlighted a slide with three questions asked by PR pros:
1. How do I keep track of all these new outlets and contacts out there?
2. How do I know how to pitch them when I don’t regularly use their services?
3. Why should I forge new relationships with them when I don’t even know if they will be around next year?
Then we revealed the back story around these questions – these are actual questions from a previous PRSA presentation given by my grandpappy Safron way back in 1950. He, of course, was commiserating with everyone about their concerns around the new medium of television. How would we, as PR pros, be able to adapt? Many didn’t even own televisions and had not interacted much with that world yet, but the concern was real, the changes confusing and their abilities to adapt were in question.
But, as I am sure many realized then, PR was still PR regardless of the content delivery method. Sure, they were worried that television created a change to PR methodology, but at some point, the realization set in, that at its heart, PR was still about relationships, trust and delivering messages effectively.
Social media is our generation’s television, and we will adapt to it just as effectively as we did to broadcast. We will remember what PR represents, how it is done best and will stick to that methodology regardless of the method of content delivery. We will still build relationships; they just might not be of the face-to-face kind. We will need to go where the influencers are – whether it will be a traditional news source, a blog, a weekly Twitter hashtag gathering, a Facebook group or tomorrow’s Twitter/Facebook/delivery method. We may never shake the hand of the person behind the handle, but we will attempt to forge the same level of trust, reliance and cooperation.
And one day at a future PRSA conference, one of my grandchildren may be reminding one of your grandchildren that this new platform of delivering messages to the configurable chips embedded into our heads isn’t going to change the way PR is done – it’s just their generation’s social media.
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