Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Putting the Public Back in Public Relations

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Putting the Public Back in Public Relations

How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR

FT Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

How online interactions are reshaping the way people connect, including how professionals practice public relations

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Although changes in the media have always challenged public relations professionals to stay up-to-date, individual PR practitioners’ credibility and solid relationships still define their success. This means that tech advocates may be somewhat overstating when they claim that “Social Media” outlets will radically alter public relations, though they certainly add many more tools to the mix. Even if Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge tend to inflate the extent of the digital revolution, their book is helpful and worth reading. You’ll have to be comfortable with some Web-jargon to understand their tech-centric thinking, but PR professionals do need to know how to make the most of social media – blogs, social networking sites, “micromedia” and the like – and how to best channel its unquestionable potential and impact. For that purpose, getAbstract recommends this handy overview. In terms of details, its most hands-on, useful section is the appendix of social media links.


Reinventing Public Relations

The public relations (PR) business is in trouble. Many people believe it cannot produce measurable results, or that it relies on “spinning” facts and manipulating reporters. Since Edward Bernays and Ivy Lee created the profession in the early 1900s, businesspeople have seen it as just an extension of management. Corporations generally turn to PR to shape public opinion, and create interest and understanding. Yet, too often businesses use PR to manipulate marketplaces rather than to inform or influence them. For example, in 2000, public relations professionals touted dot-com companies that lacked viable business plans; such poor practices inflated the Internet bubble.

The new “Social Media” of online communities and Web sites abets PR’s traditional goal of connecting with individuals. It offers tools for a fresh form of PR, called “PR 2.0.” Social media is part of a “completely new culture of online behavior,” which is reshaping professional and personal communications. Although writing an obituary for the traditional media would be premature, Internet technology gives PR people far easier ways to have direct conversations with consumers...

About the Authors

Brian Solis, a principal in the FutureWorks PR and new media agency, co-founded the Social Media Club and the Media 2.0 Workgroup. He blogs about the future of PR and marketing. Deirdre Breakenridge, president of PFS Marketwyse, leads brand awareness campaigns. She wrote PR 2.0, The New PR Tooklkit and Cyberbranding.

Comment on this summary