Monday, March 16, 2009

Conversations about Social Media

Posted by Amanda Walsh

A recent post by Ian Lurie, at, has sparked an interesting conversation about social media with his blog post, “Anti-Social Media.” Barry Hurd at 123Media, posted a rebuttal with some good points and helpful links to clarify. I wanted to comment on a few of their opinions and offer some of my own for ThePRLawyer audience readers.

Ian’s comments were:

1. The phrase is ridiculous. Have you ever heard of ‘anti-social media’?
2. Social media is not something new. It’s been around since one of our apish ancestors hooted to the rest of the tribe about a saber tooth tiger.
3. You are not Barack Obama. If you’re expecting to reach millions of people overnight, it ain’t gonna happen.

Barry responded with the following, “when your audience properly understands all of the variations and ramifications, social media is something different: something new.” I completely agree. To effectively use social media, it is key to fully understand its ins and outs. I think it is imperative for PR professionals to educate themselves about social media before blindly issuing press releases to Web sites without a clear objective.

Barry also notes that cavemen did not have the ability to relay information internationally with the click of a mouse. Technology has made it easy to relay information instantaneously across many platforms to followers or connections all over the world. So, it is new. Innovations in the Web 2.0 age have transformed the way we communicate – much different from the way our “apish ancestors” did.

Many platforms such as Plaxo, Twitter, and Facebook can be linked together, allowing the sender to post the same message with the click of a button.

Lastly, Barack Obama did not have success overnight. His social media campaign was carefully focused, planned and executed by a whole team of professionals. Effective social media campaigns take time. Listening to what others are saying, engaging in the conversation and building a network, are all part of the PR process, not just a quick way to blindly push a message.

I have engaged with other PR professionals both in Spain and in the United States thanks to social media. On top of that, I’m able to stay up to date with industry articles, blogs and international news. The other day on Twitter, I found out breaking news before it was posted on CNN or the BBC!

In conclusion, I couldn’t agree more with Barry when he points out that says, “the very nature of social media is to create, educate, and provide quality information.”

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