"Twitter is the world´s largest PR company"


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In 1984 I saw Apple´s Macintosh launch and that changed my life. I decided to promote technology and asked myself: “where do I start ?”, “what is the first thing you do to inform people?”
Christophe Ginisty
 
 

He came to Lima for the presentation of the IPRA President´s Award to Universidad de San Martín de Porres and to promote study and research in public relations which is more and more necessary today with the growth of technology in communications. 

By Jorge Paredes

— Why were you interested in PR – not such an exciting profession at first glance-?
 
Very simple. I´ll tell you my personal story. In 1984 I saw Apple´s Macintosh launch and that changed my life. I decided to promote technology and asked myself: “where do I start?”, “what is the first thing you do to inform people?” I realized that PR is the foundation of communication and I wanted to be part of the process.

— From 1984 to date the world has completely changed, how much has PR changed with the emergence of the internet and social media?
 
In fact, when I started my profession, doing PR was quite easy. You had an organization that wanted to say something and we prepared the press documents, pictures and information, and distributed it among the journalists and then our job was over. Today all of that has changed. We can no longer control what people believe. Before we were a source of information, now we are part of a more complex system, but more one that is more exciting. Now PR students need to learn more, need to know sociology, anthropology, psychology, techniques related to communication in time of crisis…

 — Today communication between companies and consumers is more direct and a company´s reputation can be brought down by a comment in Facebook, how do you deal with it?  
 

Yes, it´s very difficult but at the same time it´s much more fun. Never was it so exciting and I love complexity, not because it´s difficult but because it’s challenging. Yes, maybe 20 or 30 years ago PR was not so exciting, but now it is. Now companies and we the PR profession must pay greater attention to the public, our audience, and be less arrogant. 
 
— Do you think Facebook is the world´s largest PR company?
 
I think Twitter is more so. That’s where the cross-referencing of information takes place. There are two types of social media: the ones where you go and stay and the others that connect you with the rest of the networks, and Twitter is doing just that, it´s gathering all the rest of the media. It´s at the crossroads. Many of my friends say that it´s no longer necessary to issue a press release, just write a twit.
 
— Do you believe that?
 
Not really but it serves to arouse interest.

— Which are the possibilities and limitations of social media?
 
Among the possibilities, we can access any type of information immediately; we can check and verify information, and we can be connected to people without barriers. But there are also many limitations: the greatest  is the difficulty in finding the truth, in distinguishing  between right and wrong, true and false. There are organizations that have learned to use social media to manipulate people.
 
— How do you avoid being manipulated?  
 
First, by training people how to search the internet, teaching them to identify reliable sources. In the digital world, journalists play a very important role, their work is to train people to browse and find the truth in order to fight manipulation. We need to be activists for truth.
 
— Networks are also personal spaces where persons promote and sell themselves.
 
Yes, absolutely, and your enemies can build false profiles say bad things about you. That is big trouble because you can be attacked at any moment. There is where PR professionals are called to play a very active role to fight manipulation, information hacking and keep a the flow of information honest.   

— All of this obliges us to back to our roots – ethically communication?
 
That is a key point. IPRA was created in 1949 by people who wanted to promote ethics in PR and that mission never ends. Now we need to help consumers to be well-informed and help organizations to provide accurate and transparent information. When I started my profession, manipulation came from the authorities, now it can also come from the public, the consumer.

Source:  El Comercio Newspaper

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