Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Readers' Picks--What Library Staff Are Reading--Part 1

Most of us who work in libraries are tortured by the fact that we are surrounded by a multitude of fascinating books that we don't have time to read. Dante should have created a ring in his fictional hell as a punishment for avid readers who committed crimes of book mutilation or for those who lost a borrowed book. But I digress....

Summer means reading, doesn't it? Where do you go to read? How about the beach, the porch, the sunroom, the riverpark, the local coffee shop, the breakroom, the backyard, the camping trip, the airplane, the car, the bathroom, and, of course, the library. Get my drift?

This entry is the first in a series of postings devoted to what our library staff are reading this summer. Dwight Hunter is reading Public Relations Writer's Handbook in the Digital Age. Dwight studied public relations in journalism school and is interested in how PR is implemented in a digital environment.

He says, "Public relations and the digital age have provided an interesting mix. Blogs, such as this one, that are written by company staff members, bring a personal touch to public relations. In this case, blogs are not packaged in some ordained company objectives and standards. Instead, they can open avenues of communication with people in a different medium and get that company's plug that their people know what they are talking about on a personal level. A local television station in Chattanooga has a YouTube channel. This is another form of public relations in the digital age--posting interesting videos that promote or highlight your company's benefits or contributions to the community. And even better is the fact that the video is accessible on the world wide Web.

A good example is the website of our local newspaper. The paper has adapted its public relations face to include blogs, an unusual set of weather plays, podcasts, breaking news, image galleries, and so on. Again, a local example of the digital age dictating a different public relations that is not centrally-controlled."

So, look around and notice how public relations is influenced by the influx of digital media and the variety of interesting ways that companies are trying to get your attention, influence your purchasing power, sway your opinions, and ultimately win you over.

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