This era is firmly the one of tech public relations, which inevitably begs the question of how and to what extent the field of PR has changed - if at all. Is PR still the same discipline that it was in the early 20th century, when it was pioneered by such figures as Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays? Or has the world changed too much for the old principles to still apply? |
The answer to that question is a firm "yes and no". When the 1906 Atlantic City train crash prompted Lee to send press releases to newspapers in an attempt to control what was said about the incident, she probably never imagined today's social media PR feeds, e-newsletters and blogs. Many of the lessons that she and others learned back then still hold weight, while others have become resoundingly irrelevant.
21st century Tech Public Relations is still about influencing the messages that emerge into the wider world about a particular business, product, person or other entity. However, 'influence' is very much the keyword today, rather than necessarily 'control'. Since the days of Bernays' discovery that consumers' brains could effectively be 'programmed' so that they generally only perceived what he wished them to perceive, the abundance of easily accessible information has steadily rendered any such notion of manipulation almost impossible.
We are - of course - especially referring to the World Wide Web, although PR has necessarily become less manipulative since the first emergence of computers. Any device or medium that allowed audiences to bypass the carefully-constructed messages built up by PR professionals was always going to force a rethink of what public relations should be about.
One only needs to look at PR disasters of the modern age - from the BP oil spill to Justine Sacco's ill-advised tweet - to realise that the conversation can no longer be controlled by any one individual, however well-versed they may be in the finer points of PR. There are simply too many observers now around, with the benefit of all manner of vantage points, for their opinions to be so easily 'programmed'.
The most effective tech public relations of the modern age recognise such limitations, and operates with them in mind. Arguably, public relations are more "public" than they have ever been before, with the emphasis no longer on direct messaging, but instead on connecting with customers on a level plane - communicating with them, understanding their concerns and catering for their best interests.
Don't allow your own organisation's tech public relations to become irrelevant in a continually changing world - engage the assistance of the experts at Vantage Public Relations, for modern techniques that yield genuine, sustainable results.
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