Saturday, April 22, 2006

Just Why are PR Folk Moving “Slowly” into Social Media?

The posts I’ve been adding to this blog lately have focused on our use of blogging and other social media among San Antonio PR folk. The other day, I listened to an excellent podcast interview of Sally Falkow, APR, president and senior web strategist of Expansion Plus. Among other things, she discussed why so many PR folk are slow to adopt these new technologies for their companies and clients. One theory she offered was our perception that social media are highly technical and hard to learn. The host of the podcast, Eric Schwartzman, argued that it’s not that difficult to learn. Sally said, true, but it doesn’t matter. That’s the perception.

I think it’s more than that. We’re not afraid of trying something hard. But this is new, and it takes time to learn about it, to learn how, to learn why and to learn when. I, for one, am a working mom with a great but demanding job and two young children. Time is a commodity I don’t have much of.

So why, do you ask, am I blogging right now? I am lucky to have an employer who not only supports me in learning new things but also is pushing her staff to learn and apply new technologies. That includes giving us room to mess it up.

Part of my organization’s work involves providing really good professional development for public school teachers. One of the things we know that has to be in place for innovations to take hold, is for the teachers to be supported in their learning and trying out new things. The same is true in all disciplines.

The other reason I am blogging is because I feel it is my responsibility as our communications manager to continue to learn about new trends, new technologies and more effective communication strategies.

What do you think? Have we been slow to adopt these new technologies? If so, why?

I also suggest you listen to the On the Record podcast interview of Sally Falkow. It’s the show dated April 11, 2006. You don’t have to have an Ipod or Mp3 player to listen. Computer speakers are enough.

One last point. “Slow” is a relative term. To those who are early adopters, you know, those who stand in line and pay tons of money for every new gadget there is, to those people, we are slow. But for many of us, within our organizations and our circles, we’ll be the first. To them, we’re nowhere near slow.

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