Wake up, PR people

If social media intimidates you, get over it. This technology is here to stay.

Untitled Document If social media intimidates you, get over it. This technology is here to stay. I would never describe public relations professionals as innovative. But the extent of how utterly behind the times PR people are crystallized at, of all places, Ragan's 10th annual PR conference. The realization began during Robert Scoble's keynote address. Scoble, the former Microsoft employee and A-list blogger, spoke about the many ways that social media (i.e., blogs and podcasts) impacts PR. He explained how and why his blog became so popular, and provided some wonderful advice on how essential it is to use blog search engine Technorati.com. The response from the audience? Blank stares. He asked for a show of hands on who's heard of Technorati. Three, maybe four hands went up in a room of 160 people or so. So he spelled it out—t-e-c-h-n-o-r-a-t-i—while the masses scribbled furiously. Poor Scoble didn't realize that he was addressing a crowd that didn't know the difference between a wiki and a podcast, let alone how to incorporate them into a PR strategy. Scoble went on to mention technologies like Second Life, Flickr and Rocketboom. Again, a few hands shot up in a room nearly full of blank stares. It was at that moment that any bit of credit I've given PR people in the past year began to evaporate.

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