Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Week 12

Week 12's reading centralizes on new media in Public Relations. "New Media & Public Relations" by Kate Fitch.

I can relate better to this reading, somehow. So, let's get on with it.

I was thinking back on how our ancestors used to communicate with one another, especially if they were far away from each other, they would pass the message to another person by message carrier pigeons, then thanks to Alexander Graham Bell, they had telephones. And postage service which would most likely take eons to get their postcards or letter to another part of the world. Now, we have the internet, we can do almost anything and everything online, pretty much instantaneously, as Turkle (1997) writes in her book; Life on The Screen.

One section of this reading caught me, and that was on whether advancement in communication technology could be of better use in PR. Gregory (2004 cited in Fitch, 2009) discovered that there were 2 different view points on this issue. And after reading this, I can conclude that it is a debatable point.

Firstly, she mentions of one view point that technology advancement in communication in line with PR, is that this new form of communication is defined as yet another communication method or as a better form of current communication methods. Let's just take for example the telephone, making international calls can be costly, especially for an international student like me, but with the internet and MSN or Yahoo Messenger, I can call up my parents and they can even see me with the video call function, and it is not as costly as an international call.

Here, Gregory quotes survey works from the various communication scholars, coming to say that the internet has the potential of promoting and facilitating two-way communication. But, this potential cannot be made possible.

In fact, I agree with this point. At most times, websites are being set up to only disseminate information such as what the company is about, company policies, achievements- to ensure that the public knows what they are supposed to know. Often, the ability of the new media to engage the audience is not put to good use. Perhaps they might have a "Contact Us" section; most likely for you to leave comments or a message in hope that they will get back you, but at the end of the day, it comes down to the company's personnel to decide whether they want to reply you or not. Thus, new media is not being used to promote two-way communication as it can encourage dialogue and discussion.

Another school of thought feels that technology has advanced and it has changed how companies communicate with the public. Reading on, Fitch (2009), suggests that McDonald's is a good example to this. Try typing in McDonald's in Google- see what you find? I actually did this "experiment" and... Eureka? I posed it as a question because almost anything and everything that has the label McDonald's can be found online. Even a WikiPedia entry, and even Youtube Videos are found too. While new media can assist in promoting dialogue and discussion, it can also mean harm for the company, where the organisation's private information is also disseminated out. Companies start getting too "leaky" as Fawkes & Gregory (2000 cited in Fitch 2009) with their company's information- where no control is present over the information accessibility.

In my opinion, I think organisations should encourage two-way communication with the public with forums and discussions, and at the same time, the organisation also needs to be mindful of what information they put out to the public.

That ends my response to Week 12's reading.


  1. But all in all, we are glad that we have internet, now aren't we? :D

  2. Ms. V!! How dare you to comment before me!
    *squatting rubbing my beard stubs*

    Now this is interesting. Set me thinking and alive.

    Like you said, most companies set up website for the sake of disseminating information. I know you have bigger expectation from them, but let’s go back to my favorite subject of Marketing 101 —which is pretty much the root of PR— Such companies are known as ‘the followers’, or the ‘me-too’ in Jack Trout’s term. You can’t blame them, because they hardly know the reason on how PR can benefits them in the first place. What they’re doing is, basically, coping up with their competition, no more, no less.

    And this could bring us to everything else but one thing: PR is a resources-hungry investment. All the glittering PR cases are mouth-watering indeed, all those interactive functions, network intelligence, enabling shared knowledge (we’re talking about Web 2.0 here aren’t we?) and even CSR 2.0 (something that I just learnt yesterday), all are good; But from business point of view, they’re definitely not inexpensive; and while they could cost a bomb to get it rolling, and it still cost them another bomb if they screw up.

    Next, about this humongous US company who employs Rich Ronald McFatDonald.

    If Google were found as non-for-profit organization, you might exclaim ‘Eunuch!’ instead (this enforce my previous point that PR, is after all, not inexpensive). With Google being stock market-neutral, what we will get is all the gross publication about their fattening contents, dubious charity, and exploitation of parenthood with their Kids Meal (or commercialization of kids, up to your preference how you want to call it).

    What McDonald did (on the surface) is, a major-rebranding as a healthier food provider. They scrub the SuperSize package out of the menu, brief all of their staff throughout the 5 continents or corporate image, and of course, the obnoxious partnership with Olympics (which once more prove my point that PR is not inexpensive). Now, this is something that we can pick as excellent case how marketers, equipped with necessary PR tools can actively battle the negative viral marketing (credits to Eric Schlosser and Morgan Spurlocks).

    Now, Ms. V, it’s your turn. I hope I don’t make you speechless again.

    PS: please do not quote me on your exam or other assignment. I won’t hold any responsibility if you flung. However, 10% surcharge may be applicable if you score.

    The Undercover Marketer,

    Felix Sun

  3. It doesn't matter who comes first; it doesn't guarantee the quality.

    No, you didn't make me speechles this time, but.. *jaw dropped* How do you know about Web 2.0? And about Google being stock market-neutral! My, what have WE been learning all this time?! And what have YOU been doing, really?! Stock broker?

    Can I just ask you to help me do my PR plan for me? I'll crochet you something XD

  4. Whoa Ms. V, that's really a long sentence that you said with your jaw dropped. when you're partially unemployed, you have a lot of time to learn a lot of things (some of them is useless of course), if you choose to.

    "who comes first" does guarantee the quality, especially if we're talking on the hot and sensuous scene.

    tut, tut. tutors watching, no helping on your individual PR Plan. Anyway, i dont think i'm qualified as you. i don't even know what 'crotchet' is. my vocabulary is limited to 'crotch'.

    Ms. Sue, sorry for messing up your blog. blame the one who came first :p