PT Barnum, the man who PR 101 class taught me was the “inventor” of Public Relations, is most likely doing spins in his grave over the incredible speed at which technological innovation is zooming. So fast that there are infinite ways that PR professionals can now access their desired audiences with the snap of a finger.
Modern day PR practice has jumped on the technological bandwagon and has fused its practice with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Digg. This, of course, being the most sensical choice seeing as the majority of the global population seeks its information not from traditional media, the almost seemingly dying breed of inksplattered pages, but from LED transmitters the size of a palm or small text book.
A major issue, though, as a former (eek) undergraduate student of PR, is that universities are almost tentative at applying social media into it’s practicum. There may be some journalism classes out there providing lectures on online media, but what is to become of the student majoring in PR whose education is stuck in a traditionalist mindframe?
That isn’t to say that a traditional means of disseminating ever-so pertinent information on one’s clients is dying form of communication. Most print media will likely take the transition to an online-only format in the future, but the same principles of pitching and writing will remain ever-present. The innovative practitioner knows, though, that their audiences (at least from ages 12-40) are tuned in to social media sites so it’s basically easier for them to send a message to all of their followers with a link to a new article, contest, or what have you, than to go through a traditional outlet with breaking news.
At this rate, universities with programs in PR should begin integrating curriculum which has room for the new trends in information disbursement. My education, for instance, consisted of fine-tuning practical skills like (among the other 120+ credits I acquired) verbal and written communication, research, and crisis management. It wasn’t until I stepped into my 5 internships that discussions of such mystical things as SEO, Hootsuite, audience calculations, etc etc, came in to play…
How do you think your education prepared you for growing trends??