There’s a great post by Kami Huyse on Communication Overtones about so-called PR 2.0 – the increased use, indeed in some cases cack-handed use* – of communications technology to communicate.
Kami makes the point that yes, this technology can help us reach stakeholders but no, we shouldn’t lose sight of what we’re really doing: building relationships through dialogue. He cites the case of someone who used to actually drive press releases to local media outlets.
Both tech and the personal touch can work together and I think this is a very important point. Since when was PR not about spreading word of mouth and influencing behaviour? Far from being a ‘threat’ to PR, surely massively interactive websites are tailor-made for us? We just need to adapt strategies and be bold.
Maybe it’s the ‘bold’ bit that hurts. I had an interesting discussion with a colleague today on the nature of making mistakes to learn. My take on it was that many companies, especially tech, do this on a daily basis. It’s called R&D. But make a mistake on behalf of a client, and you really do get burned, very publicly, with the same technology you mistakenly used causing you grief. Massive interaction can swiftly mean massive condemnation if you get it wrong.
One day we’ll get the hang of Web 2.0 and we’ll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. In the meantime we can monitor the mistakes while we find out how best to make that balance between the incredible communications tools we can use, and the incredible communicators we work alongside.
* I know I’ve seen postings about this recently but couldn’t find any to hand. I’m sure PR Disasters could tell you a thing or two about it…
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