At yesterday’s T3 PR Conference in NY, there was quite a spectacle during the session entitled, “The Future of Tech PR: Industry Visionaries Speak Out”. The participants were Richard Laermer, president, RLM PR, Constantin Basturea, director of new media strategy, Converseon and Steve Rubel, senior vice president, me2revolution group, Edelman.
It was a cross between a PR smack down and a love fest. If you don’t know the gregarious personalities involved, meet Richard the rabble rouser, Steve the cool geek and Constantin the intellectual. Besides the entertaining repartee between Steve and Richard, this session gave participants a taste of what’s next for our industry. Steve talked about participating in the realm of social media. As practitioners, in order for us to advise clients and get bloggers or journalists to pay attention, we must get in the game and play. We need to know the rules, we need to blog ourselves, we need to comment, we need to have Flickr accounts and MySpace pages.
Constantin pointed out that this is a time of ‘distributed PR’. That the true character of a company is expressed by its people. The tools are there for the public to have a direct channel of communication with the people within the organization. “This is not about losing the control of the PR department over the company. This is about having a cacophony of voices, having more spokespeople, having multiple touch points with the public.” In the next five years, Constantin predicts, that there will be much more emphasis on internal communications to train all employees as spokespeople.
Richard asked some pointed questions about guiding the shift within the organization, while Steve compared the current situation to the last days of communism – that the people under communist rule saw on their TV that the people over on the other side of the wall are free – and they wanted to be part of it. Companies that don’t want to let go of the reins and let new technologies and new media in are going to fall. The change is coming and they can’t avoid it.
As Constantin pointed out, the revolution and change is great. But it is always followed by a long period of turmoil. “In many countries, it took more than 10 years for the countries to stabilize. There will be major legal problems and the law will have to adjust to the new realities.”
There were other great tidbits and moments of sage advice. Podcasts should be available in the near future. Check back here or on the Tech Section’s site.