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Amplifying the topics that power today's PR professional

#SameRules and #NewTools Defined

As my sixth post to Universal Information Services‘ blog page, I felt it was time to elaborate on the philosophy of #samerules and #newtools. This blog was intended to cast light on what new tools are available to the PR professional and business communicator. We also want to contrast the flood of new tools against the common sense thought that using these tools entails an understanding of the fundamental rules of communication and PR. At the core of the new tools is not a paradigm shift in the way we communicate, but rather a set of rules we’ve seen and used for many years prior.

For many people the prospect of mastering new tools to enhance their media relations efforts can be unappealing or simply a burden. Like it or not, new tools present themselves everyday and for every industry. These new tools do have differences that make them unique, but their fundamentals remain the same. Here are some examples of #newtools with #samerules at their core.
1. The iPod: Did it change how we enjoy music, or simply the ease with which we enjoy music? Most would say that the Sony Walkman ushered in the era of personal audio. The iPod represents a new tool, but fundamentally has the same rules as the Walkman. The phonograph brought music into the personal space more than a century before the Walkman.
2. Twitter: Did Twitter change all that we know about communication and public relations? No. Fundamentally one can argue that Twitter is a micro blogging system, stemming from the blogging conventions, that stemmed from the fundamentals of writing and journalism. Blogging and micro blogging are a great example of what happens when we democratize the tools. These new tools are now available to everyone and at no cost. But, the same rules of writing compelling content (did everyone just leave?) apply or else no one will read what you have to say (*small exception to this point, see below).
3. Rock & Roll: My friend, Jeremy Lipschultz, Ph.D., almost tripped me up with the illustration of what Elvis and The Beatles meant to music. Do these bands represent #samerules or new rules? Then it came to me, what the original Rockers did was analogous to what social media is doing for journalism and public relations. Electric instruments, amplifiers, and a faster tempo were, at their core, the application of new tools using the same rules. Aside from the most pure form of industrial music, Rock & Roll (including all variations) still adheres to the #samerules of tempo, notes, chords, chord progression, etc. Elvis used his new tools to amplify his message and draw a greater audience, much like the social media tools.

Now I don’t want you to walk away thinking that none of the #newtools have new rules. I believe quite the contrary. All new tools do have new rules that make them unique, but they ALSO have the #samerules at their core. One should not forget common sense, human nature, and the fundamental conventions of good public relations. The new tools are great because they let us amplify our message beyond what we could previously do with the older tools. The #newtools help us engage other mediums by extending our audience and community.

I’m confident someone will find a new tool that has none of the #samerules at its core. When that happens I will embrace that concept and most likely discuss it here on this blog. But until then I encourage you to try and test this theory. Are there any new tools of communication you are using that you feel have no fundamental rules from prior modes of communication? Leave your comments to engage with me, or visit our website for some ideas http://universal-info.com/

Cheers!
Todd Murphy
Vice President
Universal Information Services

(*small exception: The Long Tail philosophy dictates that there is an audience or buyer for everything, no matter how unique the product or content. At the very far end of the Long Tail you may find some #newtools that have no corresponding #samerules. I love The Long Tail.)

2 Comments on “#SameRules and #NewTools Defined”

  1. 1 Mike said at 11:50 pm on November 16th, 2010:

    It is definitely a challenge to find a communication tool that doesn’t have a previously defined set of rules at it’s core.

    For me, it is not necessarily confronting a new set of tools that scares me with projects or applications. It is the fear that I will either use them incorrectly or not use them to their fullest potential. Great web log Todd !

  2. 2 John Melingagio, APR said at 9:31 am on November 17th, 2010:

    Great topic, Todd. A couple of very important points to highlight. I love new tools, and it is great to fall in love with some of them. The critical question for me is: “Is it the right tool to not only create awareness with your audience, but to engage them and move them to action?”

    The second point, and probably the most important, relates to the Beatles and Elvis. Whether you choose the #newrules or #samerules argument here, what cannot be denied is the quality of the content and/or product they provided to their respective audiences.


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