Don't know how many PR people still consider themselves primarily as gatekeepers for their employers or clients, but they need to get beyond that "custodial" mindset. This is increasingly a social media age, one that involves a lot of Web-watching, and the increasing role of PR people is to watch, listen and archive well — along with responding, of course, when necessary.
Robert Niles makes these timely points on OJR: The Online Journalism Review.
Niles is actually describing quite a role change for PR people, and their media contacts as well. Hence his title, "Why don't some media pros 'get' social media?" Elements of the new functions, as Niles sees them, are as Proxies (watching Twitter scroll by, for instance), Coaches (guidance on how to be effective online), Conduits (introducing new or neglected voices), Judges ("challenge unworthy claims") and Curators (archiving newsworthy and insight-producing posts for posterity).
"Gatekeeping?" Niles concludes, "Who needs it? With all this work to be done in social media today, what reporter or press agent would have the time?" Well said.
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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