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November 13, 2009
Gary Goldhammer: 'PR Industry Wants Shortcuts'

Gary Goldhammer, senior vice president, Digital Strategy and Development for Edelman Digital in Los Angeles, weighs in on the state of PR and the challenges it faces these days on his Below the Fold blog, Gary talks of his mixed feelings about the Public Relations Society of America ("at  least the Orange County chapter") in the face of the Internet and social media onslaught.

About to speak at a PRSA event in San Diego, he writes that "little has changed" from what he saw when the Orange County PRSA chapter was "more interested in giving out awards than preparing its members for the tidal wave that was approaching and eventually overcame them in the late ‘90s, also known as the Internet."

"Too many in the industry," Goldhammer adds, "talk about 'social media' as if it’s something that can be harnessed or 'owned' by PR, when all around them every type of agency you can think of, from every discipline, is ignoring traditional barriers of what is PR, what is advertising, what is customer service, or what is media itself."

"Far too many PR practitioners reduce communications to 'tools' -- things with which to communicate. The PR industry, by and large, wants shortcuts. It wants technology to take the place of actual engagement, rather than to serve as a means to communicate in new, powerful, personal ways. Ultimately, it seems many in the industry don’t want to talk directly to consumers but instead do what they’ve always done -- talk to third parties and intermediaries to carry their clients’ messages."

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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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