Thursday, December 14, 2006

Social Media and Public Relations Curriculum

As I read over the Communication Technology section I can't help but notice the report is lacking in the new social media category. I feel much more attention should have been paid to blogging, podcasting and other forms of digital communications. Here is one of the rare, explicit nods to web 2.0…

“New PR tools and technologies, e.g., podcasting, blogging and video blogging, RSS feeding, Internet conferencing, e-networking, interactive media kits and e-mail. The research indicates that all these tools should be clearly presented to students.”

Perhaps it was not the goal of the report to provide prescriptive suggestions, but I’d like to know how the authors suggest rolling these topics in the current publics relations undergraduate curriculum. I hear my clients asking for our counsel on social media news releases, podcasts, or advice on a negative blogger nearly everyday.

Not one of these communications tool were presented to me when I graduated just two years ago. Despite their inability to plan strategically web developers and marketers will begin to elbow out young public relations professionals if we continue to overlook these new communication opportunities.

I spoke with the primary author of the technology section and I’ve included his response to my comments, in full, below:

From Dr. Kruckeberg via email:

"We attempted to address these areas in the section beginning on p. 31, 'Communication Technology.' I was the primary author of this section, and I accept your criticism. You are assuredly correct that clients are seeking counsel (appropriately so) from public relations practitioners about the use of these technologies."

"Your observation makes me think that this section may not be sufficiently prescriptive, but it does–quite importantly in my estimation–argue that, '...(P)ublic relations practitioners must be the managers of how their organizations strategically use communication technology to affect public relationships' (p. 31). "

"Let us hope that practitioners' clients will be astute enough to recognize the limitations and inadequacies of web developers and bloggers, most of whom are not educated in public relations and should not be assuming these important responsibilities in relationship-building, and of course public relations practitioners–as you suggest–must not overlook new opportunities in evolving media technologies. Perhaps the Commission report is not emphatic enough and should have been more prescriptive in its recommendations regarding new social media. However, the Commission does recognize and appreciate the opportunities that exist through new social media." (end quote).

While I wish more attention would have been paid to the nascent social media tools, I agree with what Dr. Kruckeberg said--we must not overlook new opprotunities in evolving media technologies. Thanks again to Dr. Kruckeberg for his interest in young PR bloggers and willingness to engage with a new generation of public relations professionals.

1 comment:

amy said...

Great insights, John