Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why PR needs to take digital more seriously

A fortnight ago I was invited to make a contribution the the CIPR social media series.

I chose to extend some of the comments here which have leant in the direction of placing PR as the key discipline in the societal evolution of the internet.

This is what I said:

Such a view may change the way we teach public relations and even open new opportunities for research.

This may be exciting for some and threatening for many and downright cookie for lots of our colleagues.

If one believes, as I do, that PR is about the spread of values, knowledge and the development of relationships round values and knowledge then this thesis works.

It is not without some learning which was hinted at in the last chapter of Philip Young and my book 'Online Public Relations' and has a mirror in other research about communities, communication and the spread of values Steven Pinker hinted at this month for the Economist among many other approaches (which made me ask if Public Relations contribute to less violent society?).

I do think that we are at a watershed. The idea that a lot of PR is about events organisation and press relations is already almost indefensible. In addition subject areas like CSR, Corporate Affairs and other like subjects as far too flimsy without a better, deeper sense of what is happening in today's manifestation of human evolution.

Extrapolating Pinker's view that wider community interaction takes the violence from the savage might it not be that community interaction offers us a new form civilisation as well?

If that is so, the discipline that is equipped, not as an arm of marketing but as the high priesthood of devolved cultural development sounds pretty attractive and my thesis is that we currently have such an opportunity.