We ALL work in PR.
It’s a little bit of a black hole, isn’t it? This being on the internet malarky, creating a digital footprint with every tweet. God knows where it all goes.
I was a touch worried to find out (don’t worry, I haven’t been googling myself that much…honest) from Priyanka that if you type in my name into google, it begins to auto complete. Fuck me. I’m one of them proper internet people (or tremendous nerds – in fact, almost certainly the latter).
Something, in truth, I never really thought about when I first got into blogging, or writing nonsense on the internet. I wrote to amuse myself. And it got me to thinking. Has this sort of attitude changed?
With the tremendous takeup of twitter by celebrities, do people now primarily use the web as a source of fame, rather than writing to express their opinion? And if so, at what cost? Has ‘honesty’ been bastardised?
I’ve always been acutely aware of just what I write online. I don’t write anything that I wouldn’t say in real life (yes, even taking the piss out of social media, or ranting about how badly put together most organisations seem to be). And I wonder, as people grow up with the technology to say whatever they want, whenever they want to – whether it’ll begin to have more negative aspects.
Kids who’ve never thought about censorship will continue to be positively encouraged to tell brands what they think. With this power, do you honestly think it’ll make things better in real life? I don’t. I think it’ll lead to a lot of people who speak first and ask questions later.
Surely, some of the benefits of being online – being able to enforce change, to speak your mind and improve things – will persist. But I do worry about the other side of things. Is it a job for parents? Part of me shudders at that; no-one had to teach me how to ‘be’ online. But then, I didn’t get online properly until I was about 14 or so, I didn’t blog until I was 21.
I’m not suggesting anything so drastic as a code of conduct. That seems like bollocks to me, tremendous overkill.
But, as the title of the post aludes, we are all in PR. All of us have a measure of responsibility of ensuring our online image corresponds to the real thing. I’m not suggesting naming your kids some unique name to ensure you can get the URL (God, that’d be cringey, wouldn’t it?), but taking care when you’re online is undoubtedly a Very Good Thing.
And this includes those older folk in the communications business. I get hacked off when I get told how to think about twitter by a supposed communications ‘guru’ who has 34 tweets to his name. Or worse, one with 20,000 followers, who hires people to tweet for him (which he does constantly) – that’s not communications, that’s the equivalent to pushing 5 yellow pages through the internet’s post box daily.
Maybe it comes down to some form of web manners. Which shouldn’t mean a stuffy, fastidious code – but more behaviour centred around basic politeness or thoughtfulness.
And to even THINK about this sort of thing boggles my mind. Alongside people needing media training (which is one of the ultimate examples of money for old rope), it’s staggering to think people don’t interact with media as an everyday thing.
I’m sure the passive massive are out there, but i’m sure their number is dwindling, what with ever increasing opportunities to interact – either to post product reviews or participate in their interests.
And, to me, it’s somewhat comforting to know the individuals, not the organisations behind certain things. I like knowing who i’m dealing with, not some faceless agency or business. I can have a relationship with a person. I’m not quite so sure I’d ever value a PR or ad bod’s paid opinion in the same way.
In short, it seems honesty’s a bit of a two way street online. I’m interested in how it helps (or hurts) people. Especially those who have always had the tools to express it.