With technology constantly evolving it can be difficult to keep up. I’m constantly asking myself questions like, “Which computer would work best for me?”, “What in the world is the difference between Intel Core processors?”, and  How much memory do I really need?” Of course the online world and media environment are advancing right along with technology. Trying to stay informed on top bloggers, emerging social media sites, and trends can be nothing short of overwhelming. So, what does this all mean for professional communicators such as public relations professionals?

In short, it means more work. In Dan Gillmor’s “Journalism as a Conversation,” which appears in the 10th Anniversary Edition of The Cluetrain Manifesto, he mentions how these days “newsmakers can’t hide as easily behind traditional PR or pronouncements.” Ain’t that the truth. PR professionals are taxed with keeping up with the online media trends, monitoring what’s being said about their clients, and engaging with consumers through different online platforms, among other things. Another challenge is making the information you’re disseminating from your clients’ social media sites interesting and understandable for readers. Obviously different industries face different issues (converting aerospace engineering studies into comprehensible findings for the public is an art form in and of itself), but  overall every company must consider how to best connect with a variety of audiences they would have never considered before the evolution of social media and the Internet.

However, with these challenges come amazing opportunities. As mentioned above, PR professionals are now able to directly reach consumers and other audiences in ways no one ever dreamed of. This means not having to go through journalists and other middle men to try and have your story covered. Also, the ability to source social media sites and gain insight on how your client is perceived by mass audiences is invaluable. In fact, it can and has helped companies foresee potential crises before they emerge. In my mind it’s pretty clear that the extra work accompanying the evolving online world is well worth the effort.

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