OCSM Blog - Oceania Centre for Social Media
As relationship managers, public relations professionals should always be alert to times an places where the personal and the emotional intrude on the public and the factual.  Nowhere is this more obvious that in Social Media.

For instance, at this time of year colleagues will often open a brief corridor conversation with, “Did you enjoy your holiday?”  Regardless of the immutable facts, if they ask on a Monday, they are more likely to get a positive answer.

Yes, Monday… I’ve just reread a yellowing copy of the front page of NZ Herald, 24 Aug.’09, which says a mathematically significant number of people are happier on Mondays than later in the week.  The point of interest was that researchers had analysed happy and sad words in Blogs and Tweets for the Journal of Happiness Studies. They rated words like ‘affection, pillow and sex’ as happy, and words like ‘betray, seasick and ulcer’ as unhappy.  

What the Herald article reminds us that Tweets and Blogs often express personal feelings, and yet are open to others to read, analyse, or laugh-out-loud at.

The intimate, yet unmanaged, nature of the Web is what makes it such a potent catalyst of relationships.  Users can create good vibes and destroy them at the speed of light.  Our expertise and focus on relationships is why public relations communicators are the best-placed professionals to manage the risks and inconsistencies of web-based communication.

Another recent discovery was Rob Brown’s book (see below) which is a highly readable introduction to Web 2.0 by an experienced public relations practitioner.  His numerous descriptions of social media applications and related internet developments bristle with opportunities for relationship-building.

Brown is particularly clear on user generated content (UGC).  This can be a marvellous phenomenon for positive word-of-mouth, the essence of public relations.  It can also be a frightening forum for crisis communication.  

I guess we all know that, but Brown’s liberal sprinkling of apt anecdotes, online tools and relevant sites is eye-opening and keyboard-activating.  I simply wish I had the time to test/visit them all.  

Anyway, Brown’s book is ideal for commuters who are serious about their practice of public relations in the changing media landscape.  

P.S. When I was in the Business Faculty, I would joke that public relations was actually word-of-mouth-marketing.  To my horror, Brown’s book told me that Richard Edelman helped craft the code of ethics for the Word of Mouth Advertising Association.                                       Posted by Joseph Peart


Brown, Rob. (2009) Public relations and the social web. London: Kogan Page