Is social media just old wine in a new bottle?

14 April 2010

Yesterday I attended a PRSA event called, “Finding the Intersection of PR and Advocacy to Reach Policymakers and Win on Issues,” where panelist Tom McMahon of Qwest Communications brought up an interesting point that today’s social media directly correlates with traditional PR tactics that have been around for years and that perhaps people are over thinking it all.

 We have been using these same strategies for a long time; social media is just a new outlet for our points of view. Check out a slide from Tom’s  presentation to see how we are still using traditional PR tactics and how they directly correlate with new social media tools.









So perhaps McMahon is right and that people are thinking too much about how to reinvent the wheel with social media. Rather than using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Friendfeed to develop messages, we should be using these sites to propel our messages.  A talking point of just 140 characters, if compelling enough, can get a retweet from well known journalists from the most top tier publications. And a retweet these days, well that’s just an endorsement… 

What do you think? Is social media just old wine in new bottle, or is it much more than that?

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3 Responses to “Is social media just old wine in a new bottle?”

  1. Janet Aronica

    Great post, Linds! I definitely agree with the idea that traditional PR strategies are behind the work of social media marketing and they always will be. I do also think that there is a relevant need for people who specifically know how to translate that messaging into social media content that uses the right keywords, links, and tactics to carry out the PR strategy. So whether they are called social media “strategists” or “ninjas” or “executives” or whatever title they have within an organization, I think there should be people with this specific expertise in a division of the marketing team that is separate from the pitching and day-to-day chaos I mean fun of PR ;)

  2. Ken Vest

    I think Tom is right overall, certainly on the strategic level -but there are so many tactics now it can seem overwhelming. Many are worth trying because they can involved you or your issues in so many conversations.

    Social media is a new approach but it still has to be part of a larger strategy, twitter doesn’t do much if it isn’t employed to reach a goal.

    The most important thing Tom notes is that the one thing that hasn’t changed is message. New media is fast and to compete you have to be tight and bright. But in the end it’s what you say and how you say it that brings success.

  3. Amber Williams

    Nice post, Lindsay. Thought provoking.

    Nothing irks me more than seeing a press release posted as a blog entry with no commentary. It screams: You just don’t get this social media thing, do you?

    Social networking sites have given us new platforms on which to communicate, however, we can’t dismiss the fact that there exists a unique culture within social media. It’s a culture that is often able to uniquely blend colloquialism, professionalism, and humor. Behold an amazing beast!

    Social media has caused a movement that demands personal interaction, transparency, accountability among businesses, organizations, and people. Today, we see many businesses reexamining the way they interact with their consumers. Ah, the infamous Dell computers case study…

    I agree with McMahon. Sure, the compelling “tweet” is the new talking point (although “tweet” sounds much more hip). Now, who’s going to be responsible for making sure those tweets are indeed compelling?

    Pinot Noir can now come in a Hello Kitty adorned bottle. Old wine, new bottle, but still somehow so much more than that…

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