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Archive for February, 2009

PR Then & Now

Public Relations has certainly changed a lot over the years. However, it seems as though the mediums are what have changed the most. PR probably began as a verbal profession: people trying to convince others to do or think a certain way. When writing was invented, these conversations were spread to print.

The motivations for engaging in Public Relations have always been relatively the same. PR began as ways to gain support for political leaders, such as Julius Ceasar. Even the Pope used PR to convince church-goers to be more religious and pay their tithes. Progressively, businesses stared using PR as a way to gain more customers. For example, American railroads used PR to bring people to the Southeast. U.S. Presidents have used PR to spread news about national and international events.

The demographics of Public Relations have certainly changed over time. Whereas PR was originally dominated by men, women have become the majority. Today, about 70% of PR professionals are female. Interestingly, these women mainly hold positions outside of management capacities – a secion of PR that may be changing as well soon.

I learned a lot about Public Relations through this exercise – mainly that it is constantly changing. New technologies certainly play a role in this and PR has evolved to adapt to every new genre of communication. Social media is perhaps one of the newest venues for PR to utilize. MySpace, Facebook, and let’s not forget Twitter 🙂 are excellent mediums through which one may reach niche audiences and receive quick feedback. PR will undoubtedly continue to morph into whatever the client demands – it will be interesting to observe this process over my lifetime. I may even be one of those who affects some of that change.

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