U R the Media

U R the Media

By Bob Geller, SVP

I saw a couple of posts this week that got me thinking (which is always a dangerous thing).

On the Social TNT blog, Chris Lynn wrote about Social Graphs:

A social graph is loosely defined, according to Brad Fitzpatrick, as “the global mapping of everybody and how they’re related.

A little later on in the post he referenced Google’s recently announced Open Social initiative and how this relates to the topic:

….OpenSocial … [is] probably best described as an open API led by Google that allows cross-platform interoperability and integration (partners include Orkut, MySpace, Bebo, LiveJournal, Plaxo, and others). Basically: Where Google once created a table of content or index of everything on the web, OpenSocial will allow all of your interests, relationships, etc. to be indexed.

On the Web Strategy by Jeremiah blog, Jeremy Owyang has a detailed post about targeted advertising programs offered by MySpace and Facebook.

Both Facebook and MySpace have launched profile and network targeted advertising and marketing products. As they both use member interests and the communities which they are part of, trust continues to become key in adoption as information is passed along the network.

I am starting to realize that everyone who blogs or comments on blogs, everyone who participates in online social networks – we are the media. Advertisers will increasingly target us and try to tap into the trust and influence that results from the relationships we establish and the online reputations we build.

We as PR people – and our clients and employers – need to wake up to this fact and adjust our communications strategies accordingly.

It might seem mercenary. No one wants to be exploited based on their relationships and influence. There are a raft or privacy and security concerns. Yet advertising and PR have always been about persuasion, and about communicating with and through intermediaries.

3 Comments
  • Laura Rushnok

    November 8, 2007 at 3:41 pm Reply

    I agree with you. Social media such as facebook, myspace, and even youtube is a great way for advertisers and companies to reach out to people. Facebook has multiple groups of people dedicated to different companies. This ranges all the way from PINK Victoria’s Secret to Express Furniture. Media is changing and shifting from traditional means to a more interactive environment.

  • Chris Lynn

    November 8, 2007 at 5:08 pm Reply

    Hi Bob:

    I agree. People are changing the way they exchange ideas. It is essential that PR professionals change their communication strategies to keep up.

    In my opinion, I think that PR is moving away from persuasion to actual public relations. Whether that translates into community relations or press relations, it’s no longer about persuading. Instead, we need to listen to and converse with our audiences.

  • Aamir Syed

    November 21, 2007 at 2:23 pm Reply

    It’s scary how far social networking sites have come. I remember when I first started using Friendster in (probably) 2000, 2001. And now it has become its own online realm. In regards to MySpace, it almost seems as if people have a completely different personality than who they are when you meet them in person. Which person are we supposed to confide in or… from a media perspective, target?

    I agree with Chris, in that PR is moving away from persuasion, and now many PR people are going into the real work of getting the PR “work” done. But some people clearly can’t handle that, and take a hostile approach at them, or…us. (ex. Chris Anderson from Wired) But we really do have to look at how people are truly being approached now. And people, specifically advertisers are finding more and more creative ways to get into people’s heads. I think it’s our turn now, right?

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