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Looking Into the Future

Modern public relations was born in the early 1900s, although history traces its roots and origins of practice back to the 17th century. Two years ago, the press release celebrated its 100-year anniversary.

While the communications industry has iterated with every new technological advancement over the last century, including broadcast media and Web 1.0, none, however, have forced complete transparency prior to the proliferation of the Read/Write Web, aka The Social Web, aka Web 2.0.

It is this element of fundamental transparency of social media, combined with its sheer expansiveness and overwhelming potential, that is both alarming and inspiring public relations professionals everywhere. At the minimum, it’s sparking new dialogue, questions, education and innovation, and also forcing the renaissance of the aging business of public relations itself.

While some are already predicting the death of public relations, I fundamentally believe that it’s simply the death of public relations as we know it. As long as communications professionals want to learn and improve their craft, then we are positioned for evolution. No matter how much we think we know, we’re now equalized as an industry in order to reset, learn, and define and earn an invaluable role within the business cycle — again.

Contrary to popular belief, social media isn’t killing public relations, but the business of public relations IS in a state of paramount crisis. It’s not without merit however. Perhaps up until now we have been our own worst enemy.

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