Friday, September 01, 2006

Lets Create Wealth

In one day, years of PR research and study is being made available to everyone in the Public Relations industry.

Three people all working independently created similar wiki's.

  • Richard Bailey has created the a wiki about books every Public Relations student (not to mention practitioner) should have at hand in his wiki 'PRbooks'.

We discovered our mutual activity earlier this week.

Yes a coincidence, yes some duplication and yes competing with other specialists in the field (see this list courtesy PRbooks).

Constantin Basturea is one of the pioneers with The New PR wiki whose seminal work in the field of Social Media is a great resource.

Each of these resources is unique in its way (comprehensive, selective, subject specialist).

Critically, the above are all searchable and editable by anyone who wants to help develop these resources. In addition people can comment about pages and content. These are resources that the PR academics and PR practitioners can add to and contribute their efforts for the wider good. I encourage you all to make your contributions to each.

Other resources are not as easily maintained (as I know to my cost) because they are efforts using non-social media.

Amazon UK: Public Relations
Chartered Institute of Public Relations: Library catalouge (members only)
Colorado State University: PR Bibliography
David Phillips (guilty as charged): PR evaluation bibliography
Northern Kentucky University: History and evolution of public relations
Ohio University: Journalism history: readings and resources
PR Place: Bibliography of PR books
PRSA: PR International Bibliography
The Museum of Public Relations: Reference Library

Richard Edelman and more recently Sir Martin Sorrell, have made their position quite clear: Social media is important and central to future success. It is the responsibility of the PR sector to take it forward and here is a classic case study of social media at work.

If this coincidence had not been two academics and a part time lecture, but three local retailers tempting consumers or a global booksellers to appreciate the niceties of their products, there would have been both a first mover advantage and competition through content. Just as important, all the other retailers would have been wrong footed.

Today's announcements, because of the timing, will create (just watch this space) a buzz about these developments.

In addition, the very nature of this same day event (and as it happens we are all announcing on the same day because we discovered our mutual activities were common and, at the last minute, we colluded to post on the same day), will also flush out other such available bibliographies because bloggers will tell the world. This too will add to the wider knowledge of our industry. In the commercial world, the same things happen. There are ethical issues. Commercially would our collusion over the announcement timing be unfair and ethical?

In this case there is no ethical issue and the whole PR industry benefits. This kind of initiative could have been an industry sector-wide initiative with all the PR institutions creating new wealth for the sector. It is the kind of thinking that we now need to adopt in PR and for our clients. The very nature of organisations is changing. Yes... it is already changing. The Internet and many manifestations of social media are having an influence on the value of organisations.

This is a one off. We just found out that we were all doing similar things. But it is a classic case of social media in action.

Hiding from the social media phenomena as it gains pace is a failure of fudicial duty as much in PR as in corporate governance.

Next up, of course is how we can collaborate and, most especially, involve all PR academics and practitioners to help build on these resources and add value to their industry.

What is especially exciting for me is that this is an example of how a wide range of values is presented to an audience. These values are presented in a token that could be called 'bibliography'. There are a host of such tokens (both wikis and bibliographies on line) these particular tokens are relevant to the PR industry. Here then, are tokens with values relevant to a particular group of people. It is not beyond the realm of the possible that these wikis will find resonance with practitioners and relationships will be created. This is classic for the theory of the Relationship Value Model. It will be a case study worth following especially as the channels for communication are blogs and wikis.

The employers of 3000 press and public relations practitioners in the UK public service might find these works helpful for the continues professional development of their practitioners. The consultants who can now so easily access the reference works that underpin the veracity of their practice might point to these contributions and the institutions that represent the industry will no doubt reference these works as evidence of a thriving practice.

Here then is a place where knowledge can be accessed quickly for practitioners who want information or access to the leading thinkers and researchers in in the PR sector.

What would now be fantastic would be help so we can all collaborate and really develop a single global, detailed and always up-to-date resource for the industry.

Picture: The Library of Alexandria