Publicity and PR

2488518296_3fd3139be7When I told my dad that I was changing my major from marine biology to PR, his first response was, “so you’re going to work for a movie star and plan parties?” I tried to explain that PR is much, much more than parties. Now I know that what he was describing was publicity, which is often thought of as the definition of PR.

In Richard Bailey’s PR education blog, he mentions that publicity has often been overlooked by academics because it has been thought of as a small part of the world of PR. Now, academics are taking a closer look at publicity and its implications in today’s increased use of social media.

Now, public relations practitioners are using social media for the purpose of publicity for clients. Practitioners are also having to monitor social media to stop rumors from spreading like wildfire. However, as Bailey says, we as PR professionals have to be careful not to exaggerate and shock to get attention on the social media sites.

A question that I can’t seem to figure out is how can PR professionals protect their clients from the online rumor mill that is social media?

A good way to answer this question is to look at an example. This summer there were a string of real celebrity deaths that were rigorously covered by the national media and social media alike. However, after the string of real deaths came an endless string of rumors on social media sites claiming that many other celebrities had died.

Britney Spears was one of the celebrities that was rumored to have died and, instead of her PR team making a huge effort in combatting the rumor, they simply posted that she was fine and at home with her sons on her own Twitter feed. This seemed to nullify any more rumors with little to no effort.

So, in my opinion, using social media to combat social media rumors is the best, most effective use of a PR professionals time and resources.



  1. There’s so much in here of interest: thanks for picking up these themes.

    Is publicity an integral (and ethically acceptable) part of public relations?

    Does celebrity PR follow its own rules?

    Does social media change the rules of public relations?

    I’d probably give a cautious ‘yes’ to each of these, but they deserve further exploration. Please keep going…

  2. […] students’ blogs in America. I found this one by Elizabeth Groen particularly interesting:  as it discussed ‘Publicity and Public Relations’. I encourage you to go and check out the […]

  3. […] Publicity and PR by Elizabeth Groen […]

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