These last two weeks have gone by with no posts on this-here blog. The real truth is that I have been ‘engulfed and devoured’ by the social media issue in real life…Two full days of training with my professional colleagues from Ferpi, the Italian association, in Rome and Milano; two full days in Ghent (Belgium) listening to the more than twenty presentations at the Euroblog 2007 symposium organised by Euprera, the European association of public relations educators and scholars; plus endless emails, mobile calls and conversations…
So I really feel saturated, to the point that I prefer to take a break, ruminate and hope that whatever I was able to learn and pick up, will suddenly drip down to a few focussed items to touch on such as:
a° can we still sustain the statement that public relations is a management function (or as some prefer to say, a function of management)? What do we mean by the term management? Can we really manage communication, relationships, reputation in this new environment? And this leads us to ask ourselves, have we really been capable of doing this in the past, or wasn’t it mostly much hype?
b° can we still claim that public relations is effective when an organization abides to the traditional and consolidated one company-one voice paradigm? Or has the growing convergence between the concepts of diversity and social media shattered this widely held belief in our professional community?
c° if we adopt a communicating-with approach, in line with the two-way tendentially symmetric model of public relations, are we still trying to shift from a top-down to a bottom-up linear phase or are we not really fostering, as Philip Young suggested in his closing remarks in Ghent, a left-to-right-to left-to right-to left…process? And by the way Philip, if both are still a linear processes… where do you see the theoretical discontinuity between what you defined as a modality of ceding power to obtain a more balanced relationship (the Grunig view) versus the aggregation of what you defined themed conversation (your ‘new pr view’)? and finally
d° is the combination of these three more immediate takeaway thoughts I cumulated in the back of my mind in these last two weeks, leading us to a radically different model of practice which involves much rethinking?
Ah, confusion, confusion…. Will be back soon I hope, once I have recovered the little rationality I have been able to store away for difficult moments…