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PR and new media

Page history last edited by Richard Bailey 14 years, 3 months ago

PR and new media

MSc Corporate Communications module

October 2009-January 2010



Class blogs


Add yours here:


Two from last year (that are still going):

Deborah PR blog

Sole Trader PR



We recommend WordPress (free, open source, increasingly industry standard):


Blogger is free and widespread (and owned by Google), but seems less professional


Read this: Potential blog topics (Liz Bridgen, de Montfort University)



  1. Have your blog up and running by the end of October
  2. Keep it running for three months (November to end of January 2010)
  3. You should aim for at least one on-topic post per week during this time (200 words x 15 posts = 3000 words)
  4. Your content should primarily be focused on the module contents (the implications for corporate communications on changing media and technology, see below)



  1. 'Hard' measures: number of posts, number of comments, Technorati authority, Google PageRank (50%)
  2. 'Soft' measures: Quality of content and reflection on learning; engagement with issues and tools; participation in online communities and relevant social networks (50%)


Suggested topics: 

  1. What's new in PR and social media (links to and comments on new tools, new ideas, new research)


First thoughts: about technology and communications


"Truth and technology will triumph over bullshit and bureaucracy."

Rene Anselmo


"Online PR is about engaging people in conversations so they become advocates for your organization."

Tom Watson and Paul Noble, Evaluating Public Relations (2nd edition 2007)


Jakob Nielsen: Streams,walls and feeds


Second thought: avoid technology determinism


"Computing is not about computers any more. It is about living."

Nicholas Negroponte, Being Digital, 1995


How did we get here? 


- Electronic media is not new: Reuters, 1850s; BBC Radio, 1920s; BBC TV 1930s

- Digital media (ie computer-coded data) is new

- A people's history of the internet: 1969-2009 (The Guardian)

- All PR is ePR (ie we use telephones, email); what's new is social media

- Core internet technologies date from 1960s (eg hypertext; ARPAnet)

- World Wide Web dates from 1989-1990, invented by Tim Berners-Lee

- Key technologies: HyperText Tranfer Protocol (HTTP), HyperText Markup Language (HTML)

- Key concept: Google PageRank

- Key text: The Cluetrain Manifesto - 'markets are conversations'

- Latest development: the semantic web (Wikipedia entry)


Towards a definition 


> Social media uses the power of social (and computer) networks

> Social media involves some degree of interactivity (eg user comments)

> Social media is frequently created by amateurs (eg citizen journalism)

But note:

> 'Mainstream media' is borrowing all these techniques - see any news report from the BBC



Evolution of the media


Mass media Masses of media Me media
Newspapers, broadcast Digital channels, web Blogs, personal publishing
1870s-1980s 1990s- 2000s-

Source: Richard Bailey


The broadcast era is giving way to the conversational era (Israel 2009)


Three phases of the web


1. The age of Surf (eg Yahoo web directory)

2. The age of Search (eg Google)

3. The age of Syndication (eg RSS, Internet Explorer 7)

Source: Scoble and Israel 2006


Two models of web publishing

Web 1.0 Web 2.0
Publishing Participation
Stickiness Syndication
Brochureware Blogs
Content management systems Wikis
Britannica Online Wikipedia
Directories Tagging
Domain name speculation Search engine optimisation
Netscape Google


Source: O'Reilly What is Web 2.0?


Two models of public relations

PR 1.0 PR 2.0
Media relations Stakeholder communications
Press coverage Google search ranking
Awareness Acceptance
Tomorrow's headlines Sustainable success
Product promotion Discussion of issues, trends
Mass targeting Micro targeting
Press clippings analysis Attitudinal research
Persuasion Conversation

Source: Richard Bailey


Concepts and context


Digital natives v digital immigrants

Article by Marc Prensky (part one; part two)


An 18-year old new student / new elector was born in 1990s. They were children when the WWW was new and when Google was launched. This is their world.


Digital natives Digital immigrants
Grew up with Google Older than the web
Multitasking, hypertext Linear processes
Parallel Sequential
Crave interactivity Prefer to concentrate
Learn through computer games Learn through reading
Twitch-speed Discussion of issues, trends
Graphics before text Text before graphics

Source: Marc Prensky


Push v pull


Push Pull
Newsletter Website content
Website content RSS syndication
News release Word of mouth
Broadcast Narrowcast
Speech Conversation


Publish, then filter


"The media landacape is transformed, because personal communication and publishing, previously separate functions, now shade into one another. One result is to break the older pattern of professional filtering of the good from the mediocre before publication; now such filtering is increasingly social, and happens after the fact."

Shirky 2008, Chapter 4



Open source movement


> Open source software is an alternative to private, proprietary code (eg Firefox v Internet Explorer)

> Wikipedia is an 'open source' encyclopedia

> Open source concepts are now being applied to marketing and democracy

> Why do people do things for free? 'Psychic Capital' (Groundswell); Tribes (Godin)



Private v public 


> Where is the boundary between work and play (eg Facebook, YouTube)?

> How can we control what appears in the public domain?

> How can we manage our personal and corporate reputation?


Channels v audiences


> Mass media is a channel rather than an audience

> But what about blogs - individual or media entity?

> Audience or community (Chris Brogan)


Social media examples


Category Examples Services
Social networks Bebo; MySpace; Facebook; PROpenMic; LinkedIn Ning 
Blogs Comment is free Google blog search; Technorati
Microblogging Twitter  
Photo & video sharing FlickR; YouTube  
Wikis Wikipedia  
Podcasts BBC podcasts Podcast.net
Syndication RSS Google Reader
Virtual reality SecondLife  
Social bookmarking delicious  
Lifestreaming / aggregators Posterous; Friendfeed  


Engaging with social media 


> Do you treat social media sites as much as traditional media?

> Do you use social media for specific campaigns?

> How do you measure results?

> What guidelines do you follow? And who writes them?

> Technorati: State of the blogosphere

> Deloitte study: Organizations are not yet tapping social media's full potential

> First Direct: Open customer communications

> Golley Slater: regional trends



Developing a social media strategy


Levels of involvement (90% lurkers, 9% contributors, 1% active users - source: Jakob Nielsen)

Legal issues

People and management

List of actions

Forrester: Social Technographics ladder

Simon Wakeman: do you need a social media strategy?

Template Twitter strategy for government departments


Social media guidelines




See an additional list and discussion here and note the CIPR social media guidelines.


Measuring and evaluating social media outcomes


Jen Evans, Michael Procopio: From talk to action

Katie Paine: How to measure blogs

Katie Paine: Measuring success




Issues for corporate communications


What's the role of PR in the Web 2.0 world?


- Is the traditional press release dead?

- Are the risks to corporate reputation less or greater today?

- CIPR Social Media Guidelines

- Social media news release template, example

- Audience or community? (Chris Brogan)


Can we control information?


- Could we ever prevent leaks or factory-gate gossip?

- Is the scale of challenge greater given the porosity of online information?

- Is PR about 'command and control' or should it encourage conversations on issues?


What does Web 2.0 mean for newspapers?


- Advertising is migrating to the web (eg Craigslist)

- Google is now a media company, but with no journalists (eg Google News)

- Print is not enough: Guardian now has blogs, audio posts, podcasts, video: in a word mashups

- What does the decline in print journalism mean for PR?


Does blogger relations replace media relations?


- Yes, if blogs have reach and credibility with target audience

- Otherwise, new media complements - but doesn't replace - old media (think radio, TV, internet)

- Blogger relations complements media relations (as does eg analyst relations)

- See Tom Murphy's PR hype cycle

- State of the live web / blogosphere (April 2007)


Should the chief executive blog?


- Rare example of a good CEO blog: Sun's Jonathan Schwartz

- Warning from Seth Godin: Beware the CEO blog

- Advice from Debbie Weil: What should the CEO blog about, and why

- Advice from Antony Mayfield: Should your CEO blog? That depends on them

- Boyd Neil, Hill & Knowlton: Should senior executives blog?

- Why CEOs should learn to love the blog The Guardian, 17 November 2006


Should we prevent employees from blogging and using social media?


- Stop blocking campaign

- There should be guidelines on blogging where the company is named and blogs are part of its PR strategy:

- Yahoo! employee blog guidelines

- IBM blogging policy and guidelines (pdf file)

- Edelman Managing employee bloggers (pdf file)

- CIPR social media guidelines


Should our blogging be transparent?


- When blogs put brands at risk, Financial Times, 8 November 2006

- Buzz off! this blogger's voice is not for sale Media Guardian, 20 November 2006

- Anti-astroturfing campaign

- Edelman, Wal-Mart flogging campaign

- WOMMA code of ethics


Should we police our Wikipedia entry?


- How clean is an 'open source' encyclopedia?

- Self-penned entry (eg Tim Mackintosh-Smith)

- What about protecting your reputation?

- Wikipedia's five pillars (including 'neutral point of view')


What tools are needed for PR 2.0?


- All traditional skills (eg research, writing, networking, media relations), plus:

- Social media knowledge (eg Digg; delicious; Flickr)

- New research tools (eg Technorati; Google News; Google blog search)

- New information gathering tools (eg Google reader or Internet Explorer 7)

- Search engine optimisation awareness: Blogging your way to the top of the search engines; Search Engine Visibility (Edelman); Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (Google)

- Some social networking experience (if you can't do it for yourself...) Go on, edit this page!



Issues for PR academics


Do we need to build new theory?


'For public relations practice the unavoidable conclusion is that nothing will ever be the same again; the advent of an online world means almost every aspect of the discipline needs to be rethought.’ (Phillips and Young 2009)





Bailey, R New media sources on PR Books

Pavlik, J (2007) Mapping the Consequences of Technology on Public Relations Institute for Public Relations, USA

Phillips, D ePR lectures

Social Media Resource - by The Friendly Ghost

Inferno blogging survey

Social Media white paper pdf format

What is social media? e-book from Spannerworks

Recommended reading


Gillmor, D (2004) We the Media, O’Reilly

Levine, R et al (2nd ed 2009) The Cluetrain Manifesto, Basic Books

Phillips, D and Young, P (2nd ed 2009) Online Public Relations, Kogan Page

Scoble, R & Israel, S (2006) Naked Conversations, Wiley

Shirky, C (2008) Here Comes Everybody, Penguin

Solis, B & Breakenridge, D (2009) Putting the Public Back into Public Relations, Pearson Education 

Zittrain, J (2008) The Future of the Internet, Allan Lane


Additional reading


Anderson, C  (2006) The Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand, Random House 

Brown, R (2009) PR and the Social Web, Kogan Page

Hargreaves, I (2003) 'Matt's Modem: Tomorrow's Journalism' in Hargreaves: Journalism: Truth or Dare?, Oxford University Press

Israel, S (2009) Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the new Global Neighborhoods, Portfolio

Kent, M (2008) Critical analysis of blogging in public relations in Public Relations Review Vol 31 Issue 1 pp 32-40 full article

Li, C and Bernoff, J (2008) Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies, Harvard Business Press

Thomas, M and Brain, D (2008) Crowd Surfing: Suriving and thriving in the age of consumer empowerment, A & C Black

Wright, D and Hinson, M (2008) How Blogs and Social Media are Changing Public Relations and the Way it is Practiced in Public Relations Journal Vol 2 No 2, Spring 2008, PRSA pdf file




Thank you for listening (and participating)


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