So after nearly five long years, I am coming back to this blog. I abandoned it recognizing I didn’t have the time to devote to keep feeding content – which may still be the case.

Needless to say, since I last posted, the world of social media has exploded and become mainstream. For much of the time, I sat on the sidelines watching the evolution of emerging online communities. Then recently, I have begun to re-engage in the conversation via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

These new platforms for communicating have created quite a buzz in the public relations and marketing industry. Whole conferences are devoted to the subject. There are entire crops of consultants and agencies that are scrambling to position themselves as the experts in this field – ready to tell our organizations how we can mount campaigns that take advantage of these “new” mediums.

The good news is that our industry has finally embraced new media as being more than a fad. However, the transition to this new world is not easy and there are no easy answers on how to approach it. Despite being an “early adopter” of Web 2.0 platforms in my personal life, as a communicator new media can be infuriating. The fact is social media requires a complete shift in how you view promotion and how you tell your story.

In the world of PR and marketing, controlling the message has always been our primary goal. But how can you “control the message” when thousands of everyday people are publishing exactly what they think about your company/organization? The answer is you can’t. (BTW, as a control freak, that was really hard for me to accept!)

All you can do is listen, participate and hope to eventually build enough credibility to eventually break through the noise. Our PR team at Kaiser Permanente has just begun to play in this realm. We are participating in the conversation as individuals, sharing our passion for the work we do and as a result we are communicating directly with communities that share our interests.

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