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So Far, PR Defined as ‘Organization,’ ‘Communication,’ and ‘Public’

The Public Relations Society of America has published a “snapshot” of what they’ve gathered so far from its #PRDefined initiative, and the results are a little… hmm…

Last week, the PRSA announced the initiative, which seeks to crowdsource a modern definition of public relations. The campaign has gotten a write-up in The New York Times and other outlets, and we’ve seen links and info about the campaign zipping around on Twitter.

So what words have people been submitting in order to redefine the profession, its purpose, and its place in the world? The top four words are “organization,”  ”public”, “communication,” and “relationships.”

Also in the top 10 are “stakeholders,” “audiences,” and “create.” The most popular word cloud is above.

Keith Trivitt, PRSA’s associate director of comms, characterized the response so far as “fantastic” with 750 submissions, 62 comments, and 15,000+ page views.

“It’s important to keep in mind that we are seeking to develop a dictionary-like definition (rather than a broader, textbook-like definition). In order to appropriately and objectively quantify public relations’ role and value, we must have a simple, universal definition befitting the new era of public relations,” Trivitt told us via email.

But is it just us, or are these words lacking in the specificity that will enlighten people about what PR is? So many times, we’ve heard PR people say, “My mom/dad/significant other doesn’t know what I do.” Would these words so far change that? Plus, not for nothing, but you can’t use the word in its own definition. Public relations is public what? Relations? There’s still plenty of time to make your submissions here.

Separately, but something we missed and ought to mention, the PRSA’s Leadership Assembly has voted to raise dues $30 by a margin of 209-to-53. The dues increase is the first in 10 years and will go into effect on January 1, 2012 for all new members and renewals.

According to the FAQ posted on the PRSA website, the dues will make a number of new things possible, like the inclusion of webinars with membership and rewards for active, loyal members.

“Please also keep in mind that a portion of the dues increase revenue is necessary just to offset the financial shortfall that is currently projected for 2012,” the FAQ reads (italics theirs).

Of course, there have been detractors. But, on this subject, Trivitt said people haven’t been too upset.

“While no one ever likes to pay more for anything, the response from our members has been one of understanding the value of PRSA membership and of acceptance,” he said via email. “They understood that, after 10 years without an increase in the cost of membership, and having been diligent about cutting costs and identifying new revenue streams, that it was necessary to increase dues at this time, so that PRSA has the resources to continue to deliver value to its members.”

For those that will have a problem paying the additional dues money, Trivitt points out that there is a Hardship Program and anyone renewing by December 31 pays the 2011 rate of $225.

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