By Sydney Scheiner
About a month ago, I was baking chocolate chip cookies at a friend’s house. With the sweets fresh out of the oven, you might think our reactions would be to start chowing down. Not exactly. Both of our instincts were to whip out our phones and position the cookies just right, perfectly catching the contrast of the light and dark chocolate chips using none other than the Lo-Fi filter. Her mom proceeded to ask if we were “Facebooking” the pictures. We each looked at her as if to say, “No one uploads pictures to Facebook anymore…” While my friend was posting the picture to Instagram and simultaneously catching another photo to Snapchat, an interesting thought came to me: isn’t it incredible how quickly means of communication are evolving? Though we may not realize it at first, all these apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Keek, and now the new Vine (video app for Twitter) are tools we use to communicate and relay messages to one another.
Any PRSSA member will tell you how important social media is in today’s field of public relations. Right now, nearly every company has a Twitter, hopefully with thousands of followers who will help their company or organization grow. Right now, even television commercials will likely contain a company’s Twitter handle or a subtle “#ProductX” in a corner. The key words are “right now.” Remember back to your awkward days in middle school when movie commercials actually encouraged viewers to check out their movie on Myspace.com? Now the outdated site is used for pretty much nothing other than music, or creeping on yourself giving the ever-popular peace sign/duck face combo. Even Facebook is beginning to fizzle out, as not as many commercials are encouraging “likes” on the site. They’d prefer a quick hashtag.
What does all this mean? Marketing and advertising in the PR field is a constantly changing art. It is unlike engineering where laws that applied 50 years ago still apply today. Public relation firms need to hire intelligent individuals eager to learn new techniques and adapt to the surrounding environment. Experts in PR may be stuck in their ways, and while that is great for traditional marketing tactics, they won’t cut it in today’s competitive job market. Firms and agencies need employees who are able to learn rapidly and apply their skills efficiently.
Who knows what the “next big thing” in PR marketing will be. Maybe soon Keek will take over and firms will be hiring videographers to film 36-second clips to promote a product or campaign. Maybe the next big thing hasn’t come out yet. While we cannot be positive of what the next medium of socializing and marketing will be, we can be positive that Twitter will not last forever. Public relations pros must make sure that they are able to constantly adapt to the ever-changing technology in today’s world if they want to be top of their social media game.
Sydney Scheiner is a freshman, communication interest major. She graduated from Old Bridge High School in central New Jersey. Other than writing for the PRSSA blog, Sydney is the fundraising chair and an active volunteer for Lori’s Hands. She is pursuing a degree in mass communication with a minor in advertising.