A Shocking Question

by Elizabeth Buccianti

Just like any good social networker, I notify my contact list via several online mediums when I post a blog entry. I was in for quite a shock when I read my father’s reply to one of my e-mails – “That’s nice dear, what’s a blog?” Needless to say I was shocked by his reply. I couldn’t imagine that someone in their 50s, who is fairly tech savvy, had never heard of such a prevalent social medium.

As I began researching Internet usage statistics, the information available quickly dispelled any perceptions I had about how many people actually read blogs. According to a study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, only 33 percent of Internet users identify themselves as blog readers (equivalent to 24 percent of all adults) and only 42 percent (equivalent to 32 percent of all adults) said that they have ever read a blog. While 42 percent of Internet users add up to a healthy statistic, it doesn’t match up with the current Web 2.0 buzz.

As a public relations professional, I am constantly bombarded with professional association luncheons, magazine articles, Webinars and, of course, blog postings training the PR community for the time when communications will be predominately disseminated via social media vehicles. Many industry leaders have gone so far as to declare the death of the traditional news release. While it would be easy to get caught up in the buzz and latest trends, it’s important to remember that we’re still in a transitional period.

There is a significant population that is in tune with the latest and greatest in online communication, but there is an equally important audience that has yet to catch up. When creating communication programs, or any business strategy, utilizing online communication methods can make for an innovative approach, just make sure your strategy spans all generations.

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