The rules of engagement for PR people have changed with the arrival of user generated content. If media owners no longer entirely control the content then the principles of PR must change. The Guardian newspaper has been a prime movers in adapting its product on line. The recent attacks in Mumbai proved that at the outset there will always be individuals closer to the action than journalists. The Guardian has made it possible for these individuals to add material and for it to be viewed alongside the work of more conventional journalists. The commentisfree element of the site the newspaper also permits anyone to add their individual views and opinions. The Guardian receives over 10,000 postings a day to their site. This ceding of control by papers means that PR people need to extend their contacts beyond those with journalists.
Brand rules have also changed. The first wave of corporate websites were essentially electronic brochures but today the most successful corporate websites engage with their users. A travel operator that sees the Internet as merely an extension of the holiday brochure with beautiful pictures, flowery copy and no consumers comment will be doomed to ever dwindling site traffic. Any operator in the sector will also be aware that sites like Tripadvisor play a key role in the holiday booking process for many travellers and that is where the conversations are taking place.