As I mentioned in my last blog, I believe that public relations and the overall media is moving toward being technologically based. The Internet has played the most influential role in this movement by creating a convenience for people who need to get their information out quickly or to a large number of people.

However, there is a trend that displays the way the convenience of this tool may often be misused and abused, like many good tools at our disposal are.

 A current cause of conflict and debate on the Web and in the PR world is Chris Anderson’s Sorry PR people: you’re blocked post. Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine, is upset about the more than 300 e-mails he receives a day from PR people. He says the e-mails consist of mostly press releases that do not have any business being sent to his personal e-mail, and that if PR people would take the time to research who in Wired Magazine may find them of use or interest, they wouldn’t be junk. But because this is not the case, Anderson has taken action.

Anderson took hundreds of e-mail addresses, added them to his junk mail, and posted the addresses on his blog for all of the Internet world to see. The debate is: Is this action taken to hastily and without warrant or is he teaching lazy PR people a lesson?

There are hundreds of comments on Anderson’s blog going back and forth mostly between PR people and journalists on whose job it is to sort through the muck of press releases and information. While both parties are at fault, I think the PR people may have to step up their game, if for no other reason than to be the bigger person. As a college student who has only taken a handful of PR courses up to date, I already have learned that is important to select your target audiences and media carefully, for reasons just like this. Sending out a mass e-mail to thousands of people can harm your credibility, as we see in this case.

Exoposing the Weak PR-formers-UPDATE explains that as a PR professional being on this list can be damaging to someones career, not just offer them up to spam harvesters, like Anderson depicted.

Sam Godin’s PR and the first ammendment and keeping your job makes a great observation on why PR people continue to send mass emails even though it may damage their credibility and career.

“Here’s why this is a problem: stamps add friction. The processing of 100 press releases the old-fashioned way cost more than $100. Doing it to 5,000 people was out of the question.

Email means the cost of adding one more name is zero. Email means that lists keep getting bigger and bigger and once you’re on one, you’re on em all.”

 Technology is great for us! It means we can reach more people now than ever and in a cost-effective, environmentally safe manner. However, it appears to me, that if we [PR people, journalists and anyone else out there getting information out or sifting through it] don’t get a better grasp and understanding of how to utilize this tool to our advantage, we might ruin it. Imagine that. Us, ruining a good thing.

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