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March 24, 2011
Pondering PR's Future – As 'Curation'?
 
The problem with a jaunty writing style is that sometimes it's hard to get what it's actually saying. Witness a post by Chris Lewis on the LewisPR360 blog. Maybe we're just stuffy, but we don't quite get it  – yet we sense there's something really important here. Lewis is writing about "A brief history of the future of PR," a teaser of a headline, to be sure.

What Chris seems to be saying is that content is coming to matter more than contacts – that is, what you find on the Web is what's occurring, not what you'd like to promote into being by calling your accustomed media contacts. They're too busy to respond, because they, too, are trolling the Web.

This appears to be another take on the gravitational shift underway to the Web and social media. Chris Lewis writes of the "three C's." We've seen various renderings of those, from three to seven, but Chris' "three" are "credibility, creativity and curation." Now there's that "curation" term again. Chris explains, a bit: "The majority of what journalists or other users now find on the web (whether that's a capital "w" or not depends on where you are in the experiential cycle, it seems) is user-generated. The company or source has less and less control. This means that PR will no longer be about journalists, it will operate as Content Curators for all information gatherers."

Chris' next post suggests it's only the big, long-established PR firms that are likely to get this curation stuff, whatever, precisely, it is. But since it's largely what we do in posting to Flack Me, we think he's on to something – a new PR era, maybe, possibly...probably...oh, dear. We give you the Lewis posts to ponder.

(But, you know, here's something of how it works – there are so many PR sites out there, we don't attempt to log and visit them all with any regularity. First we check a couple of search terms with Google Alerts and NewsIsFree. If we haven't hit on a topic by then, we turn to our roster of practitioners. It takes a while, but we usually come up with timely, topical stuff – hope you agree. And we haven't talked to a human soul in the process. We're a curator.)

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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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