A recent post in MediaShift discusses the role of social media in protests and revolutions - a definite topic of discussion given today's headlines in Egypt and elsewhere. The interesting take-away from the post is that revolutions are not instigated by social media. Instead, social media are tools that can "allow revolutionary groups to lower the costs of participation, organization, recruitment and training." How does this apply to PR? 

Using social media as a PR tool allows companies to disseminate their messages quickly and economically, but used incorrectly these tools can come back to bite them. Media campaigns that put 100 percent reliance on social media and abandon traditional communication strategies can find themselves under pressure when their tactics backfire - or worse, produce no results. 

Just like a revolutionary movement, a strong PR campaign has to appeal to multiple audiences, including those that do not use the Internet on a daily basis. This prerequisite mandates that all forms of corporate communications be employed in a strategic campaign. 

Just as "a leadership too reliant on social media can also become isolated from alternative political movements with which it may share the common goal of regime change," so too may a company that relies exclusively on social media find itself excluded from conversations that it needs to be a part of. As we have said many times before, social media has become a key part of overall PR strategy, but it can't be the sole strategy.