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Beware of Social Media 'Opportunists'
By: Doug Bedell
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Brian Carter calls his lengthy post "a rant" and says it's not aimed at all PR people, just many of those who have gotten into social media lately, mainly via Twitter, and have no background in web analytics or marketing. The post on the Search Engine Journal blog deserves attention because it is easy to become beguiled by social media as the hot new form of relational communication and to overlook the collegial discipline it requires to be an effective part of corporate strategy. 

The PR people Brian calls "ignorant opportunists" are those, he says, who have:
  • No background in web analytics or marketing
  • No Social Media experience before 2008
  • Loss of traditional PR revenue drove them to the Social Media opportunity
  • They favor Twitter over all other Social Media platforms
  • They think all of Social Media belongs under the PR umbrella
We're not taking sides on this, only noting that Flack Me has had several posts on the importance of integrating social media carefully and responsibly into an effective PR and marketing package. There's enough reason for
concern over taking Twitter et. al. too casually for PR purposes for Brian's post to be worth due attention in the PR community. Social media misapplied is little more than a fad, and fads can go badly awry in relational terms. Communication is a discipline in itself; so is social media.

Brian's post is drawing some informed, helpful comments. Some think he's being unfair to most PR people. Check them out.

(And see our post of a couple of days ago on Deirdre Breakenridge's thoughts on the sort of disciplines social media indeed requires. Craig Pierce has some thoughts on this to, in a post, "Integrating social media into PR teaching and practice," that has just come in, I believe, from Australia.)


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About the Author
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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