Rob Brown’s 2009 book Public Relations and the Social Web focusses on how PR is being affected by the social side of the internet and new medias as well as how this can be a positive to PR practitioners too, in a way that can be known as PR 2.0. As an introduction, Brown states how this new side of the internet has a “range of implications” on PRs in that their “task is now more difficult” although it now allows them “to target groups on a much narrower basis” (p.11). This is a basic way of describing the new media term of convergence, by which digital, or new media, is moving away from being controlled by those in charge and moving towards a situation whereby the owners of the media do not control the content that is displayed on it (p.14). This is where PR can come into its own. Brown’s musings about the convergence of media through the internet show how PR now has a huge role to play for companies who control aspects of the media. Now that they do not control the content, they have no idea what people may say, or how people may react to products, ideas or services. The media is now a two-way conversation and organisations (both media based, and consumer based) now have the choice to “either take part in these conversations or [not]” (p.18).

Brown’s thoughts are an introduction to this new idea of PR 2.0 and I have been thinking about how this can be implemented – as well as examples of how it already is being implemented. PR 2.0 sits hand in hand with Web 2.0 and Brown’s previously mentioned two-way conversations are central to this idea. If companies do not take part in these conversations with their customers and take on board their criticisms and opinions then they run the risk of being perceived very negatively in the public eye. Social media websites such as Facebook are probably the most important part of these conversations as they allow very direct discussion between companies and their customers. A positive example I have seen of this is the Sainsbury’s supermarket Facebook page. The responses made from the company on this page are presumably written by one person, or a team of people working as part of Sainsbury’s PR team. What I think is an important observation of the web-page though is that the responses by Sainsbury’s are made in public and directly to the people who have asked a question or complained.

I think that this is the way forward for PR in its new terms of  ‘PR 2.0’ and I also think that this fits with Brown’s thoughts on the future of PR and how companies should interact with their customers. In my opinion, companies should be focussing their efforts to Web 2.0 projects in order to participate with this new notion of PR 2.0 and provide a positive service to their customers, which can control the content on their services and participate in a two-way conversation, just how Brown said.

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