Friday, August 04, 2006

CIPR to Adopt Social Media

The Director General of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Colin Farrington, revealed a social media outreach programme and an online ethics policy review yesterday.

In an interview for the premier PR podcast 'For Immediate Release', he made it clear that the the Institute is taking the changes in communication very seriously, commenting:

"We absolutely recognise that the whole public relations and communication world is changing.

"We have to be part of that and have to understand it.”

Acknowledging information overload he said the CIPR has to 'provide information in every format we can', 'looking for a wide range of channels for outreach'. In the eight minute interview, he announced the following new initiatives:

  • a re-vamp of the Institutes online magazine, Profile Extra,
  • greater use of RSS for Institute online publications,
  • more use of social media including
  • more Webinars and
  • use of the President's Blog, PRVoice,
This to offer a wider mix of communications channels used in 'outreach' to member professionals.

Running ahead of members.

He revealed that the Institute was in 'Listening and learning mode' and noted that the UK was behind the USA in adopting Social media making it clear that it was important to "be careful not to run ahead of members."

Acknowledging that there was a need to inform and educate members, plans were revealed for the Institute to 'shortly' publish skills guides for:

  • podcast
  • blogging.

Ethical Issues

He said that he recognises an "Immaturity in blogging in the UK" and pointed out that there are ethical issues that need added consideration. Specifically he mentioned that anonymity online (not revealing identity or not revealing action on behalf of an employer or client) contravenes the Chartered Institutes's code of professional conduct.

He said "People in PR need to consider their relationship with clients; PR is largely about relationship building and that Blogging is an easy medium to run away with.

He highlighted the problem with Astroturfing, a form of passing-off to dupe decision makers, electors and consumers and noted that this was a problem to be dealt with both on and off-line and which mirrors growing concern among on-line PR practitioners.

Picture: Colin Farrington