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Is Web 2.0 the PR 2.0?

Public Relations in the new age (PR 2.0)

Once upon a time, PR didn’t exist. Then, PR became a professional responsibility that is highly important, but also highly unappreciated. The unsung heroes of brand reputation if you will. Back then, PR was essentially brand reputation management. Today, more is demanded from PR practitioners. They have a bigger part to play, and a more interactive role to assume on top of everything else they used to do. They call this PR 2.0. It is no longer just about audiences. It is now about people.

PR 2.0 is not because of Web 2.0. It is not about simple blogger relations. Nor is it about corporate blogging, wikis and communities. These are simply the tools we use, and tools change – while people, more often than not, remain the same. With Web 2.0 starting to attract mainstream attention, PR 2.0 (and everything 2.0) has become the golden ticket for misguided and opportunistic marketing professionals. This relates back to my previous post on brands having no idea what they’re doing on Facebook.

We have to remember that it’s not about technology. This time it’s about sociology and the interaction with people. New PR is a milestone that documents the shift of PR from a broadcast machine to community participation. It is a chance to not only work with traditional journalists, but also engage directly with a new set of accidental influencers.

Web 2.0 is all about interaction and conversation, this alone is already a huge step away from traditional PR.  An article from the ARMA international publication reveals the blurring of lines between what is personal and what is business is another factor to be considered. Many organizations already have significant challenges with employees leaking company information in their “personal spaces” on the Internet. PR 2.0 has effectively made PR a mediator between an organisation and its public. Is PR 2.0 actually a good thing? Doesn’t it seem like an invasion of “private” space into the organisation?

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