The future of public relations deals very much with how consumers receive their media. Currently people are getting the news from sources such as television (news broadcasts), radio, the internet, and social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). All of these are good sources for news, but often we complain about how “one-sided” the news can often be. As mentioned in another page on this blog, “News: Fact or Opinion?,” that as consumers of the media we trust who is delivering the news; that we are receiving the full story, and the facts are presented as they should be. This is not always true. In the debate of CNN and Fox News, both have different political agendas. Other news outlets are also similar, but instead of their political agenda being democratic or republican, it is driven for another cause such as money, or status.
Considering how some outlets are driven by these political agendas, it is hard to separate the truth from skewed journalism. In light of all this, a predication I have made about the future of public relations is that the power of wikis will be seen as a new outlet for media. Wikis are a type of server software that allows people to comment or edit content on a web page. This seems kind of like a silly concept because people argue, how are you supposed to control the content that goes on the web page? My answer is, how do you control what other public relations professionals do or do not say? The fact is we cannot control the public relations world, but we surely can put in our two cents.
Wikipedia, probably the most well known wiki, has had great success as being a type of online encyclopedia that people can add or edit content too. They have run into problems that people add content that is not very relevant, but for the most part it has become a very successful resource for students as well as adults. It is almost always the first link that pops up after it is “googled.”
So why do I think wikis will be the future of public relations? Wikis will allow people to receive the news at all angles. Take the Boston Bombing as an example. If someone were to write a wiki about the Boston Bombing and allow it to be edited and commented by others, I think that people would contribute their experiences of being at the scene, or maybe if they knew the suspect, they would have come forward with a name sooner. It’s the idea of shared knowledge. We often want to know what our friends or enemies are doing on Facebook and Twitter, so why not be interested in what other people have to say about the news?
In a document written by Educause Learning Initiative, it states “7 things you should know about wikis.” Number six on the list is the answer to, “where is it going?” Directly quoting from the document, Educause states, “Since wikis are easy to edit, they carry an inherent potential to change how we construct knowledge repositories on the Web. Wikis allow groups to form around specific topics. The low barrier to entry makes them the equivalent of shared digital paper—literally anyone with access to the Web can post, modify, and delete content on that site.” This is absolutely true, and I believe that it could change the way public relations is conducted.