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July 14, 2011
PR Folks: Be Social, But Available, Too
In the wake of Amazon's recent cloud collapse, Kate Schackai, social media director of Crawford Public Relations, Boston and D.C., sorts through the relational requirements of social media and warns that, beguiling though SM is, spokespeople need to remain on hand. Real-life reporters who need answers aren't going away.

Kate provides a nice overview of this junction in time. "Although social media represents a major evolution in communications," she writes, "it is not — as many companies, notably those from the ranks of technology, assume — a substitute for the fundamentals of public relations. Particularly in times of crisis, people want a human face and voice, not a blog or a tweet. Corporate leadership must step forward, acknowledge the problem, take responsibility, provide full disclosure, and outline progress on resolving the crisis. Communications departments must provide regular updates to media and ensure access in or as close to real time as possible..."

Take heart while scanning Twitter et al. Effective PR — meaning real and responsive — will always be needed.

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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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