Education, Education…you know the rest
I came across this piece by Chris Clark for the Blog Herald which echoes my own opinions on educating PR practioners on social media.
As Chris notes:
For starters, most PR practitioners don’t have time to learn new things. This is probably true of every industry: you’re so busy trying to catch up on yesterday’s work that you can’t even begin to think about what tomorrow will bring. It’s no different for PR, as we’re talking about an industry that hasn’t changed a whole lot historically.
Another reason PR professionals aren’t catching on with social media: nobody is teaching them! Personally, this is my biggest issue.
Where does this education come from? Traditionally it’s the ex-journalists who have been the mentors to many young wannbe practitioners but perhaps the tables are turning.
As Gary Goldhammer points out on the subject of journalists immersing themselves in blogging community:
I would add that public relations and other professional communicators do the same, especially students.
Are these new students, who are growing up surrounded by social media and who interact with it on a daily basis, the ones to teach the old dogs a new trick or two?
I made a decision some time ago to immerse myself in the world of social media and ensure it became my specialist subject should I ever find myself on Mastermind. I’ve no doubt it was my enthusiasm for the subject of blogs and podcasts that helped me secure my current agency position.
It’s been clear for a while that education is going to play a key role in ensuring PR and marketing folks take on social media with both hands which is why we’re taking steps to develop New Media Workshops (that and some friendly words of encouragement from Neville Hobson). The idea behind workshops is for them to provide an insight and ongoing training for team members who are desperate to learn about this area but don’t know where to start (or at least find it too daunting). Based on the assumption that enthusiasm is infectious, we should have everyone blogging and podcasting in a matter of weeks…right?
Probably not. But at least it provides a starting point – One which I think many PR agencies will be discovering for themselves in 2007.
As for all the PR students out there, class is in session. I’m sure this ‘old dog’ can learn a few more tricks.