Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Yesterday's Google Doodle celebrating the birth of the World Wide Web was a reminder of how radically it has changed PR. Those of us ancient enough to remember the days before the Web will recall how difficult it was to convince CEOs of reputation issues, of persuasion that did not include advertising and the power of third party credibility. Today, especially with social media, reputation protection and advancement is a major thrust of corporate communications. Response times have moved from hours to minutes. The Web has given voice to millions of individuals who were unable to express themselves in the media because it was not available or was too expensive. We use to worry about letters to the editor. Today we are on alert for Tweets, for Facebook messages, for blogs, for complaints on consumer sites such as Yelp. Youngsters in the business look at the past as a time of leisurely response by comparison to today. It wasn't laid back. Pressure was intense to communicate but we lacked the media we have now. The old days are gone, and that's a good thing. The Web has thrust PR to the fore in the battle for reputation, perception and persuasion. It's a relief not to have to justify oneself day after day. We should thank Tim Berners-Lee for doing that for us.