Thursday, June 06, 2013

Reflecting on the evolution of Public Relations

A deer in the garden
helps one reflect on the
important things in life.
The Public Relation profession encompasses many spheres of activity. 

For the most part they have in common elements associated with relationships between organizations and people. PR is a discipline encompassing semiotics applied to attitudinal and behavioral changes. 

In internet applications it has to extend beyond semiosis because the practitioner can use a range of platforms and channels as well as the internet of Things and Big Data to make internet technologies do things.

There is now a big element of PR surrounding the concept of who or what is initiating and delivering content and activity in a communications web.  A word spoken or a sentence written by a practitioner can have the effect of making a machine start on the other side of the world without any other human intervention.

Knowing how this can be achieved is part of the range of practices that the profession has to consider for its members.

In this regards, Public Relations becomes more like medical practice with specialists supporting general practice or facilities supporting specialists.

Where once there could be elements of specialization which did not much need to heed the overarching  principles of the profession, the progress of the internet is changing that. In addition, the strategies and tactics of all the elements, and the nature of modern communication (for example its fast changing nature) now require an evolved profession.

Thus, in addition to the other overarching requirements of this profession (for example ethics, informed multi-culturalism, multi-ethnic  competencies  etc), there is a need to have a broad knowledge of internet influences and the probability of knowledge in specialist areas (such as social media, search,  SEO etc.) to be professionally competent in 2013.

This was not the case at the turn of the century. Today it is essential and indicates the fast changing nature of practice.

This means that Public Relations practitioners have to be flexible in their approach and the capabilities needed to be effective. 

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