I attended a great communications conference last week – one which thankfully featured more senior practitioners than the usual consultants hacking their magic bullets – and I was struck by the wide range of understanding and involvement in digital media tools. Some folks still seemed very hesitant to develop corporate/CEO blogs – and were trying to run their analysis through traditional risk-reward paradigm – while others were intent on catching the wave. The discussion was catalyzed when Bill Jensen, who leads an eponymous consulting group, laid out the fundamental shifts in how information is shared online, particularly by the Gen Y cohort. In short, anyone who believes we still control the flow of relevant information – or that we should – is missing the boat. Clearly, some in the audience were not willing to let go of the old model and embrace this scary new environment populated with citizen journalists, vibrant social networks and self-appointed blog pundits. This was particularly true of those involved in internal/employee communications. I suspect this will change in the coming months. Though caution and deliberation is certainly warranted before making the digital leap – it’s better to figure out why and how you will engage in Web 2.0 technology than just jumping in – PR professionals will quickly lose relevance and credibility if they don’t become fluent in this new environment. By the way – I take no personal credit for being knee-deep in this brave new world; I have the good fortune to be working with very smart, creative people who are willing to take risks and understand the huge potential of the web.

Cheers

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