While reading for my lit review (alone on a Friday night, eating a family size bag of m and ms – this is what my life has become) I came across a very interesting statement in an article entitled Educating Public Relations Students to Enter the Blogosphere by Shearlean Duke. A study using the Delphi method of two or more rounds of questionaires sent to a panel of experts in order to reach a consensus on a topic, came to a conclusion that although it is important that public relations students learn to blog, they should not be forced to
“because forced content skews the transparency of the blogosphere”.
Maybe someone should mention this to RMIT?
Aside from this point, the article got me looking into the Delphi method. The general idea is that a questionaire is formed, sent out to 15 or so ‘experts’ (left to my discretion) with open-ended questions based around themes. From there, the answers of Q1 are collated and a new questionaire (Q2), containing previous responses of all participants and a summary is sent back to the panel for them to further comment in light of their colleagues comments. This can be done a third time as neccessary, with the idea being to lead to a general consensus on the query. The method is based on the idea that experts in the field of research hold the best answers.
This method seems to fit my project perfectly, at least I think so. So instead of regular surveys, I will create a ‘master questionaire’, and follow up on it although I will probably only have time for two rounds. This method will also help my ethics approval no end… I HOPE!
We’re often taught in public relations that transparency and openness are key factors in maintaining a good reputation. It seems now, with the increasing prevalance of social networking sites and the like, that this is more important than ever. But how can an organisation really be transparent? Is there an art in faking it? Or do companies really just need to deal with the fact that they the internet can expose them more than ever before? This seems to be a key concept that is coming up in my lit review research.
The Cluetrain Manifesto focuses largely on a shift from marketing speak to having real conversations with people about things they actually care about. In an open space such as the internet, companies need to address real issues with real voices, as TechnoLatin (as they refer to it) will be seen straight through. Now more than ever, organisations need to focus on relationships, not messages. However they seem to miss a point of public relations here – a key message is more than just a well-crafted sentence, it should be adaptable to conversations. A key message is a concept that can be incorporated through different forms of communications to make not only state the organisations view point, but also make sure the whole team is on the same track.
Jeff Jarvis makes an interesting point in his article Openness and the Internet regarding a similar point.
“The key to Facebook’s growth, I think, is that it moves past the tiresome fad of anonymity online to help us establish real identities and organize real relationships.”
Again, people want real people and real relationships. They don’t want a company slogan and tagline or official spokesperson, they want connectivity. They want to feel important as an individual. Organisations need to act on this.
I have actually used what the librarian told us and surprise surprise it worked! Why didn’t I ever go to library sessions earlier in uni??? Having a folder in EBSCO is about 100 times better than bookmarking and forgetting… at least I think so at this point.
Tonight I had to write a 21st speech, it went until 10:30, according to my timetable I have 2 hours of lit review reading to be doing…. I do not see this happening. This could be the beginning of my demise… I sure hope not!