Note: Emergence-Media is still officially on a break. This is just leisurely Ritual Coffee Roasters/Grove Cafe blogging.
Steven Rubel recently proclaimed that thereâ€™s no such thing as Social Media because “in 2006 all media went social“. Throwing up RSS feeds and enabling comments â€“ or SMOing articles in the Washington Postâ€“ does not make you newspaper a social media newspaper. Thatâ€™s just retrofitting, like PDFing your brochure and placing it online and calling it a website. I’m siding with Karl Long on this one.
We have a long way to go before social media becomes a fundamental element of what it means to be on the web. One of the important factors in helping shaping â€œold mediaâ€ to â€œsocial mediaâ€, will be in the new, evolving synergies between public relations and online marketing.
As PR agencies â€“ even cutting edge ones like Edelman (See the Vista/Vista/Blog Issue) â€“ struggle to come to terms with how to engage social media, PR must have a mindset of shift away from pushing material into engaging, learning and shaping the conversation more intimately. Remember, its less “Old School PR” or “Cluetrain Manifesto” but “How to Win Friends and Influence People“.
We must frame the shift from generally thinking of managing â€œPublic Relationsâ€ (PR) to that of the more specific act of engaging in â€œSocial Media Relationships.â€
It is difference of degree, but not in kind. PR has always been about helping shape a positive image of a brand or product â€“ but now the connections are more intimate and less amorphous than some vague â€œPublicâ€.
Yes â€œSocial Media Relationsâ€ is another yet another meme, but it serves an important cognitive shift. PR agencies need to revamp themselves as helping companies empower their own voice and orientation in the “Conversation” (again, excuse the meme). PR should not be contacting bloggers directly, PR agencies should educate their clients on how to do so as a normal marketing/pr procedure.
Attention! PR appears to be the first agency to use the term â€œSocial Media Relations Agencyâ€ and surprisingly not many other have. Unlike other memes, Iâ€™m hoping weâ€™re see this a little bit more as some PR agencies attempt to reinvent themselves in the Social Media area.