Is social media killing PR?

15 Nov

It’s a well-worn blog topic – the ‘death of PR’ meme. Drew B links to the latest arguments from the red corner; the case was also well made in the chapter called ‘Survival of the Publicists’ in Naked Conversations (2006).

In the comments on Drew’s blog, I’ve cited WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell in the blue corner. In his recent lecture to the US Institute for Public Relations (Public Relations: The Story Behind a Remarkable Renaissance) he ascribes the continued strong growth in public relations in part to the growth of social media, ‘a natural territory for public relations’.

Student practitioners on our MSc course should be well placed to weigh up these arguments: is social media killing PR or leading to its renaissance? I suspect your answer depends heavily on how you define public relations…

3 Responses to “Is social media killing PR?”

  1. Sarah Gillingwater 17/11/2008 at 1:38 pm #

    Firstly, thanks for linking to Drew’s blog. There are some interesting thoughts on there.
    Secondly, in response to your question, my immediate, un-researched, gut instinct, is ‘no’. If public relations is about relating to the public (and that’s my on-the-hoof definition, not one I’ve put hours of thought into) then shouldn’t we as PR practitioners use the most appropriate ways to do that?
    I think social media is making PR more accessible to the amateur marketer by creating more of a level playing field, and that might not be what the established agencies want to see.
    So maybe the question should be ‘is social media killing traditional PR agencies’?…

  2. David Phillips 17/11/2008 at 3:34 pm #

    Nothing concentrates the mind like impending death but is will not be from Social Media.
    The cliff like drop in pagination will take so much out of the industry that a lot will have to re-skill.
    This is an opportunity.

  3. Drew 18/11/2008 at 11:48 am #

    Thanks Richard. It’s good to see the debate evolve. Here in our firm we’re having a lot of fun developing new PR services and methodologies presented buy social media, so all this stuff we’ve been blogging about for years is becoming ever more the standard tool in the PR consultant’s toolkit.

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