Internet technology had evolved in a number of areas. For one, computer applications moved beyond clicking on to links and viewing web pages. People could surf the web and perform a few tasks. You could purchase plane tickets, register for classes, watch videos via YouTube and other sites, and send and receive messages from people from around the world through instant messenger.
However, it was online bill pay that pushed the boundaries of the tech-boom….
Online bill pay was the next best thing to sliced bread for the everyday consumer. Pre-online bill pay, you had to pay a small fortune in stamps to send your bills off, and if you were a Last-minute Larry, you physically dropped your payment off at the nearest office. With bill pay, in your night clothes or sitting by your pool, you could essentially set up all of your major bills to be paid online with just a few clicks.
By 2010, internet technology had advanced to the point that print ads were reduced, as the internet became the central hub for marketing and advertising information. Many of you can remember those annoying pop-ups that interfered with receiving information, and don’t dare click on any one of them and risk getting a virus. Then, you had to worry about businesses privately collecting information in the form of cookies. However, even in all of this madness that became the web of the internet, the online community slowly but surely formed.
Because of social media, the one-way functionality that previously defined the internet universe….
Social media revolutionized the way in which humans around the world exist. In the beginning, most sites like MySpace and E-Harmony functioned to help people with similar interests connect with one another. As the industry has grown, online communities have also grown that focus around a number of activities ranging from music to online gaming to gambling (sports). These sites not only allow the public to engage in e-commerce activities but to also engage with each other, becoming interactive!
Interactivity. The difference is that web functions moved from being purely transactional to fully functional interactivity. In PR terms, these functionalities are typically referred to as Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.
Web 1.0 refers to public relations and marketing activities that allowed businesses to provide the public with applications that made living convenient. Banners, links, pop-ups, and transactional applications were the ones that defined this type of media.
In terms of PR, Web 1.0 allowed businesses to function more efficiently and effectively BUT there was very little interactivity involved. For the most part, PR activities involved a one-way flow of information from organizations to their publics, and the information hardly changed.
Web 2.0 pretty much took the tools of engagement out of the hands of the professionals and provided more access to the general public. Social media allowed individuals and organizations to promote themselves, their products and services. Facebook, LinkdIn, Pinterest, and Twitter, in addition to the numerous other sites, formed the market place where everyone, whether consumer or business owner, engaged in any number of activities, including commerce.
This interactivity allowed for two-way relationships to form, but more importantly, the information could be modified. For PR activities, as the public moved beyond surfing the web into engaging in online conversations that sometimes involved transactions, media added more depth to the types of relationships (two-way) that organizations and their publics engaged in. In essence, it allowed consumers and organizations to perform more tasks.
The importance for organizations and the public alike is conveyed by the number of methods by which organizations can simply relate to their publics.
If your organization wants to expose its visibility online to recruit and retain clients, Facebook has become a popular venue used for the purpose of answering questions, publicizing events and services, and engaging the public in daily conversations.
If you are a one-man show trying to attract the right organization, YouTube and other video streaming sites allow you to upload videos that publicize whatever wares you need marketing, and at a lower cost than through traditional PR activities.
…The importance lies in the evolution of a media that has made PR activities accessible to everyone with a keyboard and a mouse or a cell phone.
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