Mediations: Philip Young

  • Mediations comments on public relations theory and practice, with an emphasis on social media and communication ethics. Philip Young is project leader for NEMO: New Media, Modern Democracy at Campus Helsingborg, Lund University, Sweden. All views expressed here are personal and should not be seen as representing Lund University or any other organisation.

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    Great post Philip. My own view is that in certain scenarios it is legitimate to use negative information about competitors. The two tests that I would apply before doing so are:

    1) Is it actually necessary or do you have a reasonable chance of achieving your objectives by remaining positive?
    2) You must be open about who you are open for. If what you're doing is ethically correct then why would you want to hide it?

    Just my personal tuppence worth.

    Thanks for comments, Philip. I agree about need for critique - but trying to get a blogger to do it for you is another fake front, astroturfing scam. I'm still astonished how many people hold on to PR's 'nobility' in the face of this kind of practice (plus charges against Campbell repeated today by top brass)....

    The other side of the coin is the need for competence.
    For over a decade we have known about the internet as a driver of greater transparency and organisational porosity.
    Not paying attention to these well established principles shows a lack of, in Grunig's words, excellence.

    It's interesting how silent Google has been (at least from what I can tell). Of course what was really revealed in this public "episode" is how much Facebook obviously views Google as a competitor (or rival) in its carved-out space.

    (I also think it demonstrates that, at the top, Facebook lacks proper leadership and PR counsel.)

    As to why Google has remained silent, I cite the great military leader Napoleon: when the enemy is making mistakes, don't interfere.

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