Well, it has happened, Social Networks have taken the lead over e-mail and FaceBook has surpassed MySpace. It is no surprise that PA professionals have also leaped into FB. At a gov 2.0 event in DC today, one of the most interesting comments was how social media is a way to engage stakeholders. PA has traditionally been reactive, a sort of after the fact event. I would argue PA needs to be more engaged in the SM sphere to act as indirect influencers of the communication environment. Using SM is a way to engage on a level that has never before been realized. Yes, I said PAs influence. Indirect influence is a term I heard at the gov 2.o event today from Dr Mark Drapeau, a research fellow at National Defense University. I think he is spot on in using SM to build your networks and thereby having influence over the people in those networks has an effect. PAs can better communicate their agencies message by leveraging these networks.
The fact that social networks are not necessarily exclusive to the 25 and under crowd will hopefully steer more mainstream PA types into the SM world. People need to stop thinking of PA as simply a mechanism to inform. A good PA program will influence, not simply inform. A really good PA program will influence indirectly with a consistent message to achieve a means. The blog post below is definitely worth a read.
From Brian Solis: “This shift has primarily been driven by Facebook whose greatest growth has come from people aged 35-49 years of age (+24.1 million). From December 2007 through December 2008, Facebook added almost twice as many 50-64 year old visitors (+13.6 million) than it has added under 18 year old visitors (+7.3 million).” Full article here: http://www.briansolis.com/2009/03/social-networks-now-more-popular-than.html