Monday, July 01, 2013

The BBC discovers Transparency, Porosity and Agency

Gordon Corera has a article on cyber attacks on BBC and a programme  tonight. He will show a small part of the effects of Transparency, Pourosity and Agency, the long held mantra of good online PR strategists.

For 15 years the PR industry has known about these core elements for modern management. He has just discovered them (but not for tonight's programme). 

For the benefits of top journalists these are the five key elements:

  1. Organisations have to become more transparent to compete.
  2. Organisation are more porous and leak more information as the internet matures.
  3. The internet acts and an agent and, as both a facilitator for humans to do stuff and as technologies in its own right can change information and understanding of information.
  4. The internet delivers rich and progressively richer content.
  5. The internet has huge reach and is gaining more reach all the time (not just people but things too).

I have expressed this in three (soon to be four) books; as part of the (published) PR industry Internet Commission 1999/2001 With Prof Anne Gregory  Mark Adams etc; in dozens of lectures and academic papers.

And, now, Shock Horror, the BBC has found out and, Shock Horror in spades, at GCHQ! Worse than that, Gordon Corera has a distinguished career and has dealt with security since 2004.

I welcome the fact that the BBC is raising some of the issues that organisations face now that the internet has such reach. It is a pity that it has taken senior journalists in the business such a long time to find out what has been evident to the leading internet thinkers for the last decade-and-a-half and it has to be regretted that he is being so dramatic about it.

The fact is that the principles laid down by the Public Relations industry 15 years ago, were and are profound. Most senior practitioners who keep up to date will already have informed senior management of the threats as well as the opportunities.

Those that have not can catch up quite quickly by reading Online Public Relations. In the next edition due next year, Philip Young and I describe in some detail what happens next and suggest that, strategically, it is by no means all about Social Media.

Evident from what we learn from the BBC and from Sir Michael Rake, chairman of BT and president of the CBI that "These threats are real, they're sophisticated, they do financial and reputational damage."  This is not an issue PR can lay aside. 



In PR, we knew that in the last century. The key is what has been done about it.