Monday, September 24, 2007

i'm from public relations, do you hate me?

since there are only a couple of us here in singapore who are practicing public relations and are also active in new media or social media (links on the right under the header public relations), i see it as a sort of corporate responsibility to talk about the topic of where public relations fits in the grand scheme of all things new and social media.

as a public relations practitioner, we cannot blindly charge into this new space with six-shooters blazing without a plan. when you engage a blogger, or a participant in this new social space, you cannot just treat them as professional journalists, nor can we just infiltrate and saturate the space with crappy public relations practices that might also explain the current mindset people draw when the public thinks of public relations. if you're a public relations practitioner, or a blogger approached by a public relations representative, or a communications student, i hope this post is for you.

many times, society has been burned by the more 'shadowy' tactics of public relations. while i know must of us practice with a high level of professionalism, all it takes is a few bad eggs to make a lasting negative impression. so now that we are all trying ways and means to come up with best practices for this new media, can we avoid the mistakes others have done? i hope so. for starters, i won't claim to be an expert or have all the answers, but i hope that i can keep to my integrity both personally and professionally, and i hope the same goes for you too.

some of our counterparts have come up with the term pr 2.0. now we have to be clear that this does not just mean practicing public relations using new technology. what brian solis stresses is that because of the new publishing power bestowed onto everyone now, and not just people in the media and publishing industries, user-generated content is a force to be reckoned with. so remember, its not just about blogs, rss feeds, video and audio podcasts, it is ultimately about the people. that is pr 2.0, valuing the people, and the communities that people form, both virtually and in real life.

so if i could put down in point form, what i've learnt so far while working as part of ogilvy public relation's digital influence team, interacting with some bloggers and my own challenges when walking through a digital strategy with clients, it would be this:

1. engage and understand the space by reading blogs, forums, online magazines, watch youtube, chat on msn, use facebook

2. when you find that you have too much to read and consume, start looking to RSS and starting an online reader like google reader and start syncing feeds to your reader and watch how it magically updates so you don't have two millions tabs or windows open.

3. now, you've got tonnes of individuals updating you about what's going on in their lives, their areas of expertise and their industries, what you need to do now is identify the communities that are forming.

- for singaporeans, i recommend these wonderful aggregation sites that help sieve blogs for us, and actually some have formed their own little communities within them as well.
singapore daily

4. finally, if you're up to it, start engaging! by this i mean, start your own blog, lifestreams, social bookmarks, youtube accounts, podcasts, upload pictures, get your own facebook accounts.. and with RSS, you can sync everything to one another.

and just to show off a 'lil bit, you can find me on all of these, if you know what i'm talking about, add me to your community or network, and you can be sure you'll receive only the best of what my clients can give you. in the end, you have information and i have information, let's tell more people and have a ball. that's one way of looking at public relations -)

my jaiku lifestream is found here:

it syncs my flickr stream, blog, tags and latest music from to it and my twitter feed

most of these streams are linked to my facebook account as well. so add me on facebook from the side panel.

if you're on other social networks, i'm still on friendster and myspace

you can also watch my youtube videos here.

and contact me thru regular, old skool email at or

so as a recap:
yahoo mail

and there you have it, times are changing quickly.. but remember, it ain't about the tech, it's about the people.


Anonymous said...

The downside of having too much publicity is suddenly the whole world knows about your foot fetish or obsession with silk know what I mean. :D

PRiscilla Tan said...

Well done! Love the post! Brian solis also wrote Social Media is about sociology, not technology.
Agree with your last point.

I have just added you onto my network too. I am recently obsessed about checking out other ppl's bookmarks. ha

Out of the local aggregation sites you listed, I only read Singapore Daily, the rest contain too much frivolous stuff that are distracting and create more information overload.

priscilla said...

btw, are you on twitter?

My latest update is abt your post and it appears in not only my twitter, but my facebook and bloglog as well. :)

brian koh said...

priscilla : hahaha, i've just added you back on and twitter!

i really love i think its a very powerful application, to know what people are linking and tagging because.. it's a bit more quality information and it's people aggregated. oh.. i could go on and on about this. *grin*

plus you can recommend links to people too! gahhh!!

with regards to information overload, i don't know how i got around doing it, it's clogging my RSS reader, but after awhile, you brain learns to filter the feeds on its own as well. -)

Anonymous said...

Hey~~ wonder if you still remember me, microbe :)

brian koh said...

microbe : hahaha, of course -) good to see you online again and that you're still reading this blog! haha

david brain said...

Mate i was an SPRG too once . . . .

Kevin On said...

understand and respect the space. you tell'em bry!

brian koh said...

david brain : wow, thanks for visiting my blog -) sorry, but what is an SPRG?

kevin : aye kevin! we try, and we really do try -)

Stanley said...

Hey brian, this is a really good article. Gave me something to chew on. ;)

brian koh said...

stanley : hey stanley! thanks for dropping by! i see you're studying PR in Murdoch as well! keep up that good work! i was a graduate from there as well!