Has Public Relations Become An Integral Part of Our Life?

4:08 PM Joseph Aberl 0 Comments

Working in Public Relations might be much more difficult than it ever has been. Certain elements remain from the past, but they are forced to adapt to this new digital world. On the one side, it suffers greatly from the popularity of Social Media, as a company no longer has the power and control they once had over information and how it spreads. Yet taking the other side into account, a company may be able to communicate in a way they never were able to do. There is something more personal when a company uses Social Media networks like Facebook or Twitter. You feel like a person is actually communicating with you in comparison to the classic image of the faceless corporation. Yet even with its pros and cons, it does make you wonder how exactly it has influenced Public Relations as a whole.

Let us take a look at the classic view on companies. As I stated before, they were commonly described as faceless corporations that only communicated vaguely or in a crisis situation. Well, PR has always been an important instrument in such scenarios, but maybe have also created this imagery to its customers. While companies naturally have CEOs, they were more commonly used to further cement relations between various corporations, so to the everyday man he was just the person running the business in general. If we are honest, most corruption scandals surrounding corporations and the way some CEOs have abused the system, like the ENRON scandal, doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

However, the times they are a-changing and that is even more evident in the online community. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vine and many more allow anyone at any time to post information any way they please and corporations are fighting to prove themselves as the best partner to communicate with in this realm. While some manage to prove themselves, you have others that simply use it as a means to an end.

It certainly changed the way we look at PR in general, as now this tool of conveying information has become an instrument to hold a steady dialogue. While no company is in a position to answer every single tweet that relates to them, it would certainly harm them if they overlook exactly that one comment that could harm them. So, now an important evaluation element has entered the PR-mindframe, as not only are you publishing information, you are trying to contain those that could potentially lead into a shitstorm. The faceless machine that spouted out information at will is now stepping out of the shadows to keep an eye out for any potential dangers.

It makes you wonder if PR is truly a tool, or more a way of living at this point. Even non-corporations are forced to think about how they interact within the World Wide Web. People are called out for their actions and especially if they state something someone simply doesn’t agree with. It is a difficult conundrum to live with, as no matter what you say, it is in the Internet forever and can be used against you. Naturally, not every person learns how to handle these situations and not everyone takes the time to study things like journalism or PR, so all they do is learn through trial and error. That changes a lot of elements regarding the way PR is used. It is something you learn to do, learn how to be diplomatic or handle stressful situations, if for example you are involved in a shitstorm that affects you directly or indirectly.

Yet the question remains how this affects companies? Have they become more personal due to the usage of PR in the everyday life, through which all involved parties are on the same level, or has it simply becoming a necessity. One could even start questioning if there even still is a point to PR in the first place, as it is simply something we are forced to do in our everyday life. Employees take over the tasks and become the faces of the once faceless corporation and interact with people. Companies put their trust into the people that work for them, who in a sense are just like the ones they are communicating with. Wording and phrasing must be adapted so that people don’t feel alienated from any comments and the way we communicate is changed, in some cases simply limited to 140 words or less.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think PR has changed drastically with the digital age? Leave a comment and your thoughts below!