Technology and public relations have always been yoked together and are two areas that are fairly young relative to other sectors of the professional business world. Technology, although it has always existed, has witnessed incredible booms and developments in the 21st century creating a lifestyle our parents could never have imagined. Similarly, public relations as an industry is also relatively new, only really becoming an organized practice in the 20th century as it rapidly outgrew its humble origins of “flackery” and “press agentry.” Of course, the interrelationship is also important – technology obviously has advanced the cause of public relations and technology PR has certainly played a major role in the adoption of new technologies.
The relationship between technology and public relations – particularly technology PR – has always been an interesting one as PR practitioners – particularly technology PR pros – are often the first to exploit the development of new technologies to advance their clients’ goals. Further advances, which undoubtedly are coming, will make the world a smaller place, unite people behind a cause faster and facilitate the sharing of news and knowledge in ways that cannot even be contemplated at this point in time.
A classic example of this relationship can be found with Facebook. The relationship between Facebook, which recently raised more than $ 10 billion in its IPO, and technology PR is quite interesting and somewhat symbiotic… Facebook enjoyed its meteoric assent into public consciousness undoubtedly via some shrewd technology PR techniques while technology PR gained a face through the many uses afforded it by the social networking site. Similar cases can be made for LinkedIn, YouTube and many others.
Technology for public relations – particularly those engaged in the practice of technology PR – is especially important for global firms or public relations firms with clients that are global. It rapidly speeds up the transfer of information and helps people access information more uniformly and accurately. In effect it has globalized and democratized information. Social media technology like Twitter and Facebook are essential for technology PR professionals, as well as online media trades that can be updated a lot more quickly and consistently than print trades: the original outlet for PR press releases, etc. There is no doubt that public relations could not exist without the aid of technology. It might exist, but not as efficiently (anybody remember the world before the advent of super fast fax machines?)
However the practice of technology PR has exerted a strong influence as well. It has helped spread the word about new technologies, fostering their widespread acceptance and benefiting society at large. As we all know technology is a booming field and therefore competitors are growing and present (witness the war among smart phone marketers). Technology PR will help differentiate one product or group from another and establish a relationship with the audience that will yield a competitive advantage through increased brand identity. To accomplish that, technology PR will make use of all the tools – traditional media and, of course social media vehicles like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and so on.