Reviewing PRSA’s New Social Media Enabled Web Site

Every week, Copywrite Inc.’s Rich Becker and I discuss a blogging best practice on BlogStraightTalk, a Bumpzee community. This week we discussed Public Relations Society of America‘s (PRSA) a new social-media enabled web site:

PRSA’s social media effort turns the font page of the site into a blog, allowing readers to comment (albeit minus the ability to tage blog sites). This social media enabling of traditional news outlets and Web sites is a relatively newer trend, most notably with the Gannett based USA Today’s incredible Web site revision earlier this year.

Kevin Dugan reviewed the social media aspects of many of these news vehicles on Strategic Public Relations.…

Chris Heuer also reviewed USA Today’s social media efforts to date:…

On to the reviews!

Take One: Livingston

  • Many PR practitioners don’t monitor blogs or social media still. Worse, they treat bloggers like journalists, and attempt to manipulate blog readers. This move really does enable PRSA to start a great discourse with its membership and encourage the adoption of social media-oriented public relations. I applaud the move.
  • As to the actual site, it leaves me non-plussed.
  • All in all, for a first time effort within a larger organization that’s used to controlling the message, I applaud the effort. I give it a B+.

Take Two: Becker

  • While I applaud the effort, the execution seems haphazard. Enough so that I wonder if speed to market convinced PRSA to make the move too quickly or perhaps without a plan. The posts seem a bit hit or miss, without linking to the source in some cases.
  • Social media is becoming an ever-increasing important piece of the communication puzzle but that does not dismiss the responsibility of practitioners to remember that the message is more important than the medium.
  • While I can join Geoff in giving PRSA a B+ for effort, I only see a D+ in terms of execution. Just a few tips on the front end: the front page has too much noise, the PRSA news roll moves too fast, and readers need more than a headline to coax them into a story.

Rich ended the session with a particularly prescient point, “PRSA has an opportunity to be enabled to educate public relations professionals about social media. So the bigger question is … do they know enough to do it? Considering I was introduced to their new blog by a senior member who felt disenfranchised by it, only time will tell.”

Most organizations are not as well known as PRSA.  They have the luxury of being able to “experiment” by participating in the community for a little while. That in turn allows them to find their social media voice, the role they play in the community. In essence, experiences create the ability to better navigate the social media realm.

Unfortunately for PRSA, it is a well known organization so the halo effect for trying social media will last for only a short period.  Hopefully, they will monitor results and quickly adapt.

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