Will Social Media Eliminate Need for Lobbyists? Or Will Lobbyists Eliminate the Need for PR?

I recently came across an interesting article in BusinessWeek about the game changers in the lobbying world that have emerged since Obama’s inauguration, the most influential of which include heightened standards for transparency and disclosure. Alongside this transition has come another one: Traditional lobbying shops tweaking their services to instead call themselves “strategic advisors,” as former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle now does.

Lobbying-turned-strategic-advisory firms, says the BW article, now offer companies services like strategic planning, message development and crisis management. Sound familiar? It should, because that’s exactly what most communications professionals advise their clients on.

The article also glosses over what I found to be an equally compelling observation: Social media is becoming a tool for influencing key decision makers. In short, it allows anyone—not just “registered lobbyists” to campaign for or against a particular issue.

What do both of these developments mean for the communications industry? Will one-time lobbyists begin to commoditize PR? Or, will PR’s grasp of social media give it the head start it needs to stay one step ahead?

By Courtney Barnes

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