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Craig Newmark Keynote: Social Media and Democracy PRSA 2008

Posted by Media Relations on Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 - Comments »

Craig Newmark

Listening and continued engagement. This is how Craig Newmark, creator of Craigslist, explained the success of his business during a PRSA International keynote address: “How Social Media Creates a More Democratic Society”. Newmark explained that you have to do what makes sense and continue to engage your community. By engaging you build a culture of trust where shared values are expressed and followed. Success is achieved.

Craigslist is almost 99% free, with only 1% being charged for a services. To be successful Craig Newmark realized that he didn’t need to overtly charge the public who viewed and used Craigslist, but instead offer services to help cultivate and aid in the public’s growth. By helping to shape your community you are helping people try to succeed. You are doing well. Craig Newmark beleives by doing well in his business strategy he is doing good in his community.

“To do well in business by doing good,” is the simple business philosophy of Craigslist. PR and Social Media has a bad rap as not being a service for anyone but ourselves, as not being honest, but we are doing well in business, we help promote small businesses, we encourage growth of communities. Aren’t we doing good for society.

Transparency and accountability: PR and Social Media are made up of people who get “stuff” done and get results. We are transparent in what we do and we are held accountable for how we got there. We open doors for people to blog about what they like, what they don’t we give a voice to those that were not heard before.

PR and media relations does a service, we help create a personal brand for our clients and the public. We listen to what they want and we give it to them. Craigslist  listens to their public and as they have stated they do not want Craiglist to change, they want the site simple and easy. Craig Newmark and his staff listened and this is what they have given. Craigslist gives its public democracy, the power to flag an unwanted site, to rate what works and what doesn’t. Most importantly Craigslist continues to engage its community, shouldn’t we?

If Craigslist can become so well known and successful by giving a voice to it’s public and by doing good by them can’t we in PR and Social Media do the same? “Do well in business by doing good.” PRSA International 2008 is a way we are doing good by people, we are fostering each other’s creativity and shaping they way we each view our industry. Democracy at its finest, wouldn’t you say?

PRSA International 2008 brings with it a new found respect for our industry and how we are helping shape our communities. I cannot wait to see what tomorrow’s sessions have will bring.

Be sure to check out the posts on PRSA International 2008 over at Online Marketing Blog’s Public Relations Conference category and the official PRSA ComPRehension blog.

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