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PR people – seize the day ! Our role in a social media world

By Ann Pilkington on
April 5, 2012

More from the PRSA Digital Impact Conference in New York this week……(I must stop blogging in a minute and start shopping).  It was great to see Philip Sheldrake there, author of one of our favourite books “The Business of Influence”. (If you have done our Digital Communication Certificate you will know the text.)  While much of the conference had talked about how things work, including shameless plugs for Facebook and Google+, Philip’s was the session that really pushed us to think about our role as practitioners and how the very nature of organisations needs to change.

I liked his comment about ‘socialising the enterprise’ too often being about mapping new tools on to old ways of working, perhaps no more than just getting everyone on Twitter and Facebook.  What organisations need to realise is that they need to be very different  – out go the silos and in comes the ‘Chief Influence Professional’.  Philip calls this a ‘perfect storm’ for PR people (check out his slide deck on his blog). If we are the people who can bring about change, are fluent in PR ‘excellence’ (yes, we mean some of that Grunig stuff all you PR Diploma and Advanced Certificate folk out there!) then we could be the new Chief Influence Officers.

But we need to sieze the day or someone else will get in there first.   As Philip put it: “Marketing is eating our lunch”.  I think that this means we need to raise our game and start really putting into practice the concept of two-way symmetry that we learn about on our PR qualifications   that means influencing (there’s that word again) the organisation.  Because as Philip reminded us, you cant fake it and that is true now more than it has ever been  – organisations will get found out if they arent behaving right.

We need to stop wasting our time trying to get more followers on Twitter (although I know there’s nothing like the buzz of a high profile new follower!) and start thinking about how our understanding of organisations as systems (another key concept covered in all our CIPR qualifications) make us ideally placed to guide organisations into these uncharted waters.

Kevin is going to be doing a blog on this idea of systems thinking that was discussed at the conference in the next few days, so watch this space. And if you have studied or are studying with us, make sure you join our alumni group on Linkedin where Kevin and  I will be sharing some of the tips and case studies that we picked up from the conference during the next week or so (once I’ve been shopping).

 

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