Public Relations online

communication evolutionTechnological developments have always had a profound impact on human interaction. Faster means of travel, the telegraph, telephone, newspapers, television: each one opened up new channels of communication. One-on-one or one-to-many. The latest incarnations are of course mobile telephones and the internet. In recent years however, both technologies have advanced in leaps and are connected to one another. While this might seem like just another rather insignificant step, it is my opinion that this will have an impact on human interaction yet only to be guessed at. Consider this:

Through the internet, each individual has a potential global audience for every piece of information he or she publishes on it. This effectively gives every person with internet access a personal mass-media channel. This used to be reserved to people and organisations with capital and left the others at the mercy of the ones owning the mass-media. Furthermore, the ability of cellphones to access the internet almost everywhere opens up the possibility of "instant mass media publishing". This wasn't even possible to the mass-media owners before now.

Most organisations, commercial and non-profit, are however still communicating in the "old" ways. While both the internet and mobile phones are used, the real potential, possibilities and threats of the new communication are still fairly open, mainly as far as strategy and management are concerned. Particularly the realisation that basically every person now has mass-media coverage at his fingertips. This means that every one-on-one communication can now have global consequences. This is something that already impacts large and small organisations worldwide.

Of course the marketing people have readily embraced this technology as a means to present their products to the world. In fact a whole new arena "Internet Marketing" has come up using solely the Internet for both market research, marketing and ultimately sales. But that is not what this site is about. I even doubt whether marketing is a suitable discipline for this form of communication. Public Relations online and offline seems a far more appropriate discipline for interaction with your target audience. However, Public Relations needs a drastic attention-shift in order to cope with all the developments brought about by social websites, news aggregators, blogs, etc.

Here, on Public Relations online, the emphasis therefore lies on the conceptual effects online communication has on the field of Public Relations. Of course as organisations already use the internet for their communication examples - of both the good and the bad - will pop up as well. As will interesting new sites and other initiatives.