Intro to PR Students Offer Eddie an Update
Dear Mr. Edward Bernays,
I understand that I won’t be hearing back from you since you passed going on 18 years now, however I have so much to fill you in on since you left us. I’m writing to you mainly about your child, PR. I’d like to tell you how much change there has been in the world of Public Relations.
Then and Now
As you know, you mostly used public relations as a sense of propaganda to get out the objectives of World War I to the general public. Using PR like this is easy for the government because it really helps them get people to see things the way they want them to see it. Like I said this was especially helpful for World War I, however after that propaganda ended up getting kind of a bad name.
However, social media has changed quite a bit. Press releases and press conferences are still a great way to connect with the public, but they aren’t the best or most efficient way anymore. The use of social media has become such a major part of Public Relations. These days, if you aren’t using social media, you probably don’t have a good connection with the public. Between Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Spreecast and so many other forms of social media more PR work can be done that can directly effect the public almost immediately. As you can see there have been a lot of changes in PR but I’d like to tell you more about how social media affects PR.
Social Media and PR
1. One way that social media has changed PR is that it allows organizations to become more personable with their clients. This is because the Internet allows work to get done faster. If a client writes on a business’ Facebook about a good or bad experience they had then that business will be able to answer that client quickly. If they had a bad experience this opens up opportunity for the business to apologize for the experience, but also for them to see what can be done differently to make sure they come back and see the organization in a positive way.
2. A second way that social media has changed Public Relations is that it opens up a two-way conversation. In the past when an organization wanted to release information it would usually be in the form a press release, which just aimed at an audience. With social media when information is released organizations can now get feedback about it right away. If a company puts new ideas out on Twitter or Facebook, they’re clients and the rest of the public can respond to what they think about these ideas.
3. Lastly, social media is a great way to collect some very important data. Through a company’s Facebook page they can see the general demographics and target market just based on the people who like their page. This makes it easier when a company wants to do advertising. With Twitter, the trending topics allow companies to see what the public is talking about so that they can either put their input in or get people talking about it more and how it can relate to that organization.
Definition of Public Relations
You said that Public Relations was, “a management function, which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures, and interests of an organization… followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.” Your definition was created based off of how you used PR. When looking at how used PR as a source of propaganda this definition is perfect. For example when you were doing PR for World War I your main job was to make the public aware of the objectives of the war. However, we have somewhat of a different view on the definition of PR. I believe that PR is the sharing of information between an organization and source to the public so that the organization keeps a positive image. Using the newspaper, media, or just word of mouth can do this.
Future of PR
There is a lot of growth left for Public Relations. This is because PR will always be needed in the world. With the help of social media and its continuing growth PR will be growing right by it’s side. New social media sites will continue to emerge and while things like the newspaper will disappear the use of the new sites will help organizations reach out to the public in new ways. The more social media and PR interact the better chance organizations can maintain their positive image. Also, the more developed technology gets the more PR can grow. Who knows there might be a new technological development that would help two-way communication with consumers that we haven’t even thought of yet!
So in conclusion, I hope this letter helped shed some light on how your child of PR is doing. It continues to grow and adapt to any changes that it faces. I’m sure that when Public Relations is faced with more growth it will adapt just as well as it has in the past. I plan on giving you another update in about 30 years, so until then enjoy your rest.