Help… I think I’m a middle of the road digital PR guy…

I can think of no greater insult (speaking personally) than being described as “middle of the road”. 

Anyone who knows me can probably can attest to the fact I’m a little excitable and certainly opinionated :-)

But I am increasingly coming to the realisation that as time goes on, when we’re discussing online PR, I am middle of the road.

How have I come to this realisation?

Well I have come to recognise that change takes time, and in most cases change takes longer than we think or expect.

I don’t agree or support the view that traditional media is close to death, or that people are willing to spend 16 hours a day checking feeds, sites and blogs.

I do believe that we’re seeing an evolution. 

Things are changing, no question.  The online world is becoming more important every day and every single PR practitioner needs to understand and participate in this new world.

At the same time, while I think that in general the PR business is beginning to realise the change taking place and understand how it impacts our audiences and how we communicate and reach people, I am sometimes stunned by the perceptions and beliefs of some of my less-enlightened brethren.

I met with a student today as part of their her thesis on crisis communication. (I think they interview me as the control looney.)

Her research found that a sizeable proportion of PR people surveyed believed (and I’m paraphrasing here) that online wasn’t a priority at a time of crisis. She also found that many practitioners believed that the “poor writing” and “poor presentation” of web sites and blogs meant that many felt they were inappropriate outlets for their clients.

Oh my lord.

In Ireland, probably more than most countries, traditional media remains the most important outlet to reach the masses, but online is increasingly important.

The idea that online doesn’t matter, or because a blog hasn’t gone through a rigorous editorial procedure, that it’s not suitable or relevant – with no knowledge of its reach – is ludicrous.

So you see, I am middle of the road when it comes to online PR.

I have multiple blogs, dip my toe into Twitter, social networking etc., but I also recognise that the best form of communication is face-to-face, that the traditional media remains a vibrant and welcome part of our media landscape and that while changes are taking place, nothing is dying (bar the fax probably and look how long that’s taken).

Excuse me while I fetch my slippers, turn up the fire and work on my model railway.


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