A walk in the public relations field: Theoretical discussions from a social media and network society perspective
For public relations officers the last years were momentous. Changes in the surrounding life dictated also changes in the public relations (PR) practice. The birth of a so-called network society was significant not only for different information technology and computer-related professions, but also for communication science, including public relations, from a larger perspective. Talking about public relations we are mostly talking about managing communication and about relations born as a result of the managed communication flow. From a historical perspective communication and relations management means quite often a kind of use of power. At this point the existential question today is — how to manage communication and relations in the new situation — in the society which is guided by social networks where power is not always at the “top” of hierarchy anymore, but is “down” in the networks. Who has power, and who and how will control communication processes in the society of “mass self-communicators” (Castells, 2007), which is designed and created by authors who are writing and expressing their ideas through social media, using their right of speech more than ever and which is no longer easily controlled and managed by others — authorities, press officers, public relations managers, censors, etc.