“Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.”
Revolution. Two-way communication.Social Media. Community.Influence. These are words that you always find in the same sentence when you read about new media and their impact on Public Relations. Everybody knows that PR practitioners use social media and more general the internet to approach audiences and to communicate with the public. I’m not going to start on how social media have transformed the industry or what are their benefits or drawbacks. If you want to know, you can check my previous posts, or the thousands of blog posts, articles and conversations that are being made daily about it. What I was wondering and I felt like sharing with you is the differences between traditional and new media. Since the “birth” of Public Relations the practitioners were absolutely dependent on journalists that were working in newspapers or in general the press, and the relationship between them was sacred. Nowadays, everything’s different apparently. Reading over some books, and browsing some blogs I realized that many people in the industry think that the relationships with traditional media that were really important are not needed anymore. Blogs, social media and social networking can do all the work for you. But why?
First of all, both kind of media provide the public with news. Their aim is to inform and to influence with their content. But what is that special “thing” that new media offer? Does the term “two-way communication” ring any bells? For the first time whoever posts something on web can have instant feedback on whatever is being said. Comments and observations can be done if something is mistaken or if something is widely appreciated from the public. On the other hands, what are the chances to do that when you’re reading an article in the newspaper that you bought? What? Did I just say bought? The majority of new media offer unlimited information for free. And that is something that we all like. More generally we could say that new media is a huge information “playground” for everyone that wants to inform, get informed, reach audiences, interact and share content. And that is why Public Relations love new media. Practitioners have the chance to control the message without journalists and to reach targeted audiences with limited cost. Sounds like a communications paradise? That is what I thought until I saw a survey that said that 40% of consumers don’t trust online news, until they see it in traditional media. And that was a wakeup call. Because in the “magical” world of social media there are some dangers. The content of the message sometimes can be inaccurate or can be lost among the thousands of messages. Anyone can write whatever they want and sometimes that leads to lack of trust. PR practitioners know the importance of new media and how to use them towards their benefit. But the question is: Are we ready to leave the true traditional relationships that have worked for years, and to move on solely in the digital era? I know, that is a tough one. What do you think?