Why I've Learned to Stop Worrying & Love "PR 2.0"

I know, I know: the whole "2.0" thing is so frothy and silly. Listen to folks like Jeremy Pepper, Stuart Bruce, and Susan Getgood (which you should — they’re brilliant), among others, and you’ll soon find yourself nodding in agreement that the so-called "new PR" is mostly about adapting new tools to rejuvenate our tactical approaches to the "old PR."

From Jeremy Pepper’s Blog Run:

It’s always embarassing when PR people fall for the hype machine. We aren’t in PR 1.0 anymore, it’s PR 2.0. Um, rubbish as they would say over the pond. PR is PR, and it’s just the adjusting to new media. You do outreach to blogs the same way you would do outreach to media — if you did outreach the right way…

From Stuart Bruce:

This whole PR 2.0 or ‘New PR’ is such a pile of garbage. What I’m doing is simply an evolution of what I’ve always done.

From Tom Murphy of PR Opinions:

(PR 2.0) equates PR with the technology. This is, in my opinion, incorrect. This isn’t about technology, this is about how people are/will use the technology. It’s about how these technologies change how people communicate. But it is NOT about technology per se.

From Susan Getgood:

The term "PR 2.0" must go… The fundamental practice of PR is still the same as it ever was — it’s all about connections and information and relationships. The tools are just how we accomplish the work. They are NOT the work.

Yes, yes, yes. But I’m still riding this pony. Why?

I truly believe that the PR profession is on the cusp of fundamental change. It took 50+ years for us to reach an inflection point worthy of substantive head-scratching. The 2.0 moniker is merely a "short-hand" way to acknowledge these coming changes. The 2.0 device will go away, when, to paraphrase Dan Greenfield, "PR 2.0 becomes PR 1.0;" i.e., when the PR industry has fully embraced and adapted to the Social Media phenomenon.

In scoffing at the 2.0 theme, the critics themselves (whom I deeply admire, most days) use language that begs for new terminology: "Adjusting to new media" … "Adapting new tools" … "These technologies change how people communicate" … etc. If we are adjusting, adapting, and observing changes to core communications approaches — geez, it seems to me an implication that an "upgrade" is a-comin’.

Some people might call that "2.0." (For now.) I will, anyway.

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Posted on: June 21, 2006 at 10:16 am By Todd Defren
3 Responses to “Why I've Learned to Stop Worrying & Love "PR 2.0"”


  • Kami Huyse says:

    Social Media, now there is a term I can live with. ;-) I think that we should just call it PR, and practice it the wayt it always should have been practiced, Aurthur Page style.

  • Todd Defren says:

    Damn, I hate it when I confuse people. So much for being a “professional communicator!” ;)

    It’s been 50-odd years since the “Days of Bernaise,” the so-called Father of PR.

    In those 50 years, while there have been innovative CAMPAIGNS, many of PR’s core tactics (including but not limited to the press release) have not changed. In part because the relationship between PR, media and consumers has remained fairly static.

    My contention, poorly phrased, is that Social Media (both its technology tools and its ramifications for how & who we communicate with) will transform PR.

    “Watch this space,” Stuart. I have a lot more to say on this stuff, if you are interested!

  • I think one of the problems is that people are not talking about the same things but think they are. I’m not clear from this post what you think PR 2.0 actually is. The root of the problem is possibly that too many people don’t even properly understand PR 1.0. If your definition of ‘old’ PR was too tight then yes 2.0 is different but for me nobody has yet pointed out what exactly is new.

    I’m not knocking the tools – social media news releases are great and will work for some clients but not for most. They are a good development, but I’m not convinced that most aspects of them are that new – beyond del.icio.us and digg.

    Long ramble but my question is – what do you mean by “It took 50+ years for us to reach an inflection point worthy of substantive head-scratching.” Totally puzzled. What took 50 years, what is the ‘inflection point’ and why are we scratching our heads?

Show some social media love would ya?

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