Putting the Public Back in Public Relations by Brian Solis and Dierdre Breakenridge (2009)
“I’ve always been curious about the use of social media in public relations,” says Valarie Udeh. “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations is about putting the relationship, the conversation, back into the old-school public relations model.” Solis and Breakenridge discuss the means whereby public relations is impacted by a return to a social society — and the shift in communication power from PR practitioner to, well, everyone.
Social media augments the relationship between businesses and the consumer. “It’s not about using the technology, but about using the technology to leverage those relationships,” suggests Elizabeth Sanders Walker, referencing the authors’ focus on strategy rather than media skill building. Ultimately, say the authors, the key is listening to engage in a conversation.
Udeh notes, “People make decisions based on information, not messages,” realizing that the strategic communicator’s role is to select information and target it to specific recipients. The social media release concept in text creates an opportunity for highly focused external communication.
“The book made me feel better, because I am one of the people that Solis is talking about,” says Katina Watkins, “I’ve developed more confidence in embracing PR 2.0.”
- Overall Response: PR practitioners yearning to advance from the “old-school” to new media will benefit from the the “A-Ha” moments within.
About Digital Media Book Club: In the growing field of strategic communication, social media rockstars, academics, and digital thinkers are investing time and energy to share their learning with others. In my Digital Strategic Communication class, students in the Master of Arts in Organizational and Strategic Communication program at Queens University of Charlotte are sifting through a variety of texts to discover the embedded wisdom. These are their thoughts and reactions.
Patti Palmer revisited this book tonight saying, “People are smart. They know when you’re being phony or authentic.” Solis and Breakenridge reiterate the need for authenticity throughout this text.