CPRS Event Recap: PR 24/7 - Coping with Social Media in Public Relations

Peterwalton JoanneprobynA summary of September's Professional Development CPRS event

The Canadian Public Relations Society Vancouver (CPRS) hosted their first fall event at the Metropolitan Hotel in Vancouver’s downtown core on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. With an excellent turn out of CPRS members and non-members, the topic of coping with social media in public relations proved to be one that many students and professionals were interested in.

The field of public relations has adapted to and leveraged social media more than any other profession. Social media continues to grow and impact public relations. Peter Walton, Simon Fraser University associate director of the Writing and Communications Program, gave insight and research on social media while showing a passion for the university’s Public Relations Program. 

The presentation began with a lovely introduction by Joanne Probyn, CPRS Vancouver Director and Junior-to-Mid Level Professional Development Chair (this was Probyn’s first time hosting a CPRS event). Probyn showed knowledge and interest in social media and proved how today “we are all connected more than ever.” Social media has been one of the major factors in how we are all connected. Peter Walton led the discussion with a slide show presentation on a recent SFU social media study that he and others participated in. He engaged the audience by asking for a show of hands that divided everyone into two age groups. He said there are “digital natives,” those who are under the age of 35 and have a great understanding of how to use social media. And, there are the “digital immigrants,” those over the age of 35 and have a lesser understanding of social media. Walton explained how social media is growing…and relentless. The line is between networking and socializing has become blurred. “Digital natives are so immersed in social media they don’t even know they’re doing it,” says Walton. 
Research was presented on how social media and public relations are more connected than ever. 42% of people surveyed in the research believe that social media has increased their job satisfaction and on average people spend one to five hours a week engaging on social channels. Companies are offering exclusively social media job positions and are capitalizing on its promotional capabilities. Social media has created many new opportunities in public relations–yet there are risks. The nature of social media is instant; you send something and it’s immediately published for the world to see. This is unlike traditional media that has multiple layers of review built into the approval process. 
Guests of the event engaged with Walton throughout his presentation by asking useful questions and contributing helpful comments. CPRS members and non-members mingled over refreshments provided by the hotel while having lively discussions on social media in public relations. With many thanks to Peter Walton, Joanne Probyn, CPRS and participants of the event, PR 24/7: Coping with Social Media in Public Relations was a successful event. 

Sydnee Ricci is a volunteer for CPRS Vancouver and a student of Public Relations at Kwantlen Polytechnic University