Do you remember when the PR department had one major pitch strategy—press releases to the media? The answer is, probably not. Why? Because the newest group of PR grads and first-timers (that’s us!) has grown quite accustomed to the idea of working with the giant vortex we like to call “social media.” There are so many outlets and intricate tunnels we can incorporate into our strategies that it is hard to imagine sticking with only a few simple techniques. As the wise uncle of our dear Spider Man once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” For the purposes of this argument, the “responsibility” shall refer to the ethical code PR practitioners have been following for years. Just because our techniques are changing, doesn’t mean our ethics have to.
There are many things to consider in our newfound repertoire of tools. For example, is it ethical to ghost blog? Can we really pose as our client just because of our expert blogging skills? What about tweeting? Facebooking? What is a PR practitioner to do?
There has been a long history of PR ethics, most of which have been transformed, shifted and re-evaluated to suit today’s dilemmas. It is up to the newly educated individuals in the PR world to keep up with the tradition of good ethics. We need to ask ourselves “Is this ethical?” in every situation. It may seem tedious or elementary, but when it comes to the integrity of the industry, it is our duty to maintain (or in some cases, establish) a good name for the PR practitioners of the world. The PR Code of Ethics should be our reference in any time of need. Of course, with any ethical decision, the outcome is quite subjective but the decisions are easier to make when we’re prepared.