Pros and Cons

Most PR professionals have embraced the Internet world with open arms, but there are those that are skeptical of the emphasis that is now being placed on Internet communications.

One of the biggest advantages of the Internet is that it is essentially unlimited by space or time (4). Your message is available 24 hours a day and seven day a week. The Internet allows an organization to be discovered by millions of people all across the world.

The Internet is also a more immediate form of communication. Web sites, online newsletters, bulletin boards and other forms of Internet communication can be updated at any second. All information and news is up to the minute.

While immediacy and lack of space constraints are good advantages, many professional feel that paper publications are still a better choice. The structure of the Internet and the use of hypertext create many opportunities for the author to lose the reader and lose the chance to communicate with them (2). A certain Web site may receive 100,000 hits in one day, but how many people actually stopped and read the page. Further, how many people understood and retained the message being presented (7).

Another advantage of practicing public relations on the Internet is the low cost,speed and ease of distribution. Many public relations practitioners see the Internet as the way to go because, "the technology is ripe, economic barriers to enter are low and there are almost no regulatory hurdles," (1). These factors have contributed to the growth and the popularity of the Internet. A popularity that PR people can not ignore.

The potential problem with these advantages is that some organizations and agencies are replacing all traditional communication with Internet communication. The Internet can never replace face to face communication. Public relations is about building relations and this can not always be done on a computer screen. It is important to recogninize the Internet as an additional public relations tool, not a replacement (1).