As public relations students, it has become our nature to assume that part of our job description (post-graduation) will likely include implementing and maintaining relationships through social media channels. After all, we’re communication specialists, right?
Well, in a post on A Shel of My Former Self titled, “Who should own social media? Everybody and nobody” (it’s a couple posts down on the blog) Shel Holtz says, “no single department should own social media”, a change-of-heart on his earlier view that ownership should belong to PR.
Holtz says a “cross-functional” model (bringing in team members from each department) should apply to social media standards as well. Having equal participation among employees from all sectors is the most effective way to strategically address company needs.
If this is true, haven’t we lost a slice of our value as a PR practitioner?
In recent class discussions we have addressed a problem students will likely face when entering into the job world: explaining the importance of PR and how leveraging tools (like social media) are vital to any company’s success. Additionally, we have discussed the importance of distinguishing communication goals from business goals, which are often at the forefront of top management.
If this becomes a common theme, where do we establish our expertise in the realm of social media? Will we be forced to hand over our second language, an integral part of our job, and take one for the team?
If this is the case, I think it will continue to be our responsibility to oversee operations relating to social media. I see how the integration of all departments would better represent the face of the company but feel the need to understand different public’s is a learned skill that comes only with proper research and practice.