Next week is Blog Week for the Florida Public Relations Association, an organization I have been an active member of since moving to Gainesville in 2001. They have a full slate of posts planned from 10-14 April, ranging from crisis communication and investor relations to the accreditation process. Like many practitioners and PR organizations, FPRA is cognizant of this new way to reach publics and communicate a message.
I recently collaborated with colleagues from LSU, University of Kentucky & Indiana University on an online survey of public relations practitioners in PRSA. When all is said & done we will have about separate 5 academic studies for journal articles & conference papers looking at blog use & perception of the tool among professional journalists & PR practitioners, as well as journalism & PR educators. (If you took our survey – THANK YOU!)
I don’t want to talk about it too much because possible reviewers might be reading this, but we had some interesting findings regarding the use of blogs in PR:
- Communication industry folks use blogs at a similar level to the nation overall (comparing our data with Pew numbers)
- Professional blog use is low across the board
- Journalists use blogs more frequently for day-to-day work than PR practititioners
- PR practitioners use blogs for strategic planning/tasks more often than jouranlists
- Both sets of professionals think a professional use of blogs should be taught to students
- All groups believe that blogging will increase over the next 5 years
More interesting than these simple data points is the feedback I received from people who had taken the survey.
Christie L. Goodman, APR, Communications Manager for Intercultural Development Research Association in San Antonio, wrote me to share how her local PRSA chapter is teaching members how to blog. She sent me the link to their chapter blog & told me how they are “learning by doing.”
Not all comments were favorable.
Some wrote back saying that blogs were stupid & they didn’t see a need to jump on the bandwagon of the “next big thing” of the moment. And others seemed short-sighted in the understanding of the differences of communication technolgooy, like this comment where the practitioner said:
I am skipping blogs & moving right on to podcasts.