In its "here's 2010, what now?" review of trends in advertising and marketing, Ad Age comes down on PR for not seizing the initiative on social media. Social media input, after all, is replacing traditional media relations, and media relations is PR's home turf.
Here's Ad Age's heartfelt commentary:
"Earned media and two-way conversations have always been the specialty of PR shops. But many PR professionals will tell you that the industry as a whole has done a poor job of laying claim to being the authoritative voice on all things social and digital. The industry has stood by, similar to the way it did during the dot-com explosion, while media, direct, digital and creative shops have taken business that it should be handling. The evolution of the media ecosystem has brought fewer traditional outlets and contacts to pitch to and a tougher task in identifying the more influential new-media players. Looking ahead, most, if not all, PR shops need to put a more intense focus on navigating and understanding which outlets are having the most impact on consumer decisions and start staffing their agencies with the type of talent that understands these mediums."
Software -- social media monitoring platforms like Seesmic -- is now as important to PR as softsoaping the media once was.