PRSA and IABC: Exercise leadership

Earlier this week, I posted commentary about the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) ignoring blogging.

My post referenced commentary from the Business Blog Consulting blog which said that, in the forthcoming PRSA conference that takes place later this month, blogging doesn’t get a mention anywhere.

What’s been happening since I posted my commentary is quite interesting. While the post itself has drawn a few comments, that’s outweighed by the sheer volume of visitors to my blog to that specific post – 35% of all visitors by Wednesday, for instance.

So it’s clear that such commentary has caught the attention of quite a few people. Maybe those people – some who are PRSA members, undoubtedly – are asking why PRSA as an association is ignoring blogging. If I had talked about the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) as well, I wonder what that might have done to the visitor statistics.

Now here’s some good news.

Also on Wednesday, the PRSA’s Technology Section held a webinar on PR in Emerging Communications Channels – RSS and Blogs that, according to reports of the event in PR Week and iMedia Connection, had over 300 participants. Presenters were Steve Rubel, who writes the Micro Persuasion blog; and Pamela Parker, author of The River blog.

300 participants! If that doesn’t indicate a keen interest and urgent need by PR professionals for information and knowledge about blogs and RSS – communication channels that continue to occupy so much discussion space on business blogs and, increasingly, in the media – and how they fit into the communication sphere, then I don’t know what does.

One thing’s for sure – PRSA members are clearly not ignoring blogging.

I mentioned IABC. That’s the professional association I belong to, in which I’ve been an active member for over 15 years, many in leadership roles. IABC represents people in every area of organizational communication: PR, marketing, advertising, public affairs, investor relations, employee communication, etc. It has 13,000 members in over 60 countries. I don’t have any information on whether any IABC members anywhere have done or are planning anything like their PRSA-member counterparts have done. I hope so.

(An open invitation to my IABC colleagues in Europe: Let’s organize a webinar or teleseminar. I have a presentation ready, the one I gave at a communication conference in Amsterdam last month on blogs, wikis and RSS. It could be the basis for developing content for an event if no one has anything else ready.)

But, as with the PRSA, I certainly haven’t seen any initiative by IABC as an association. And by the way, one of the elements in IABC’s 5-point mission statement says: Lead the way in the use of advanced information technology in the profession.

Which brings me to the key point I want to say in this post.

Individual initiatives are just fine and clearly will help raise awareness of these ‘new’ communication tools and help communicators understand their value in organizational communication.

What’s urgently required, though, are initiatives by our professional associations to take a powerful lead in really getting the story out. Not only will such leadership demonstrate a strong ability to actually lead on acutely-relevant issues that directly affect and impact the profession, but also take the battle straight to those who listen to some who hold the notion that communicators have no business in blogs (see my post on The role of PR in CEO blogging for a discussion example).

To start with, I’d like to see the leaders of the PRSA and IABC with a blog. I want to know what those leaders have to say on these issues; how they will encourage open dialog, debate and conversations; and lead the way for our profession. That would be an exemplar demonstration of leadership.

PRSA and IABC: What do you say?

2 thoughts on “PRSA and IABC: Exercise leadership

  1. The new IABC Strategic Plan removes the line “Lead the way in the use of advanced information technology in the profession.” from the IABC mission statement (which has been revised in several ways).
    I see that it has not been posted yet to IABC’s Member Center, but the plan, with new mission statement, was adopted recently by the IABC board.

  2. Thanks for that info, Allan.
    Using the technology line from the mission statement as I did was actually the wrong value to use. This is not about the technology, it’s about communication.
    A much better connection would be to the visibility goal announced in July: “Through the media, participation in expert panels and business forums, and speaking platforms, IABC has a huge opportunity to build awareness and understanding of the important contribution that IABC and its members make to the profession.” I made that connection in my subsequent post yesterday:
    Going back to the mission statement, if a new one has been adopted by the International Board, that ought to be on the public IABC website by now, but it’s not. Pretty fundamental element in understanding what IABC’s about.

Comments are closed.