Participatory in PR

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Digital audiences…..A redefined term of what used to describe people as viewers or listeners. The added word ’digital’ in respect to a new kind of audience that exists without having to assemble face-to-face or at the same time, thanks to the accessible, online and open nature of web technology. However, change in delivery method also brings about change in participation as well. What this new form of participation in regards to Public Relations has been eloquently described by media guru, Henry Jenkins:

“Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement”

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From Jenkins, the idea alludes to the fact that individuals, now as digital users, have to ability to affiliate, express, collaborate and circulate their own content and the others in the Web. This ability empowers these new digital audiences to control and police what is being fed to them, as well as championing preferred content. Also, this form of participatory culture is the exact counterpart to consumer culture in regards to public relations where organisations were the ones with all the control. What this means for public relations is that they now have to toe the line to when it comes to spewing out capitalistic-fuelled propaganda as the audiences that they’re trying to push it on can do more than just ignore but wage a whole new for of boycotting. Examples of online boycotting by disgruntled digital audiences can be seen in the #AskJameis and #MilkTruth campaigns. Should a fitting caution be to not poke the bear?

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