Facebook: Welcome PR “flacks” of the world

July 23, 2010

On Tuesday afternoon, representatives of the tech industry’s biggest corporations convened at Facebook’s Palo Alto, California, headquarters.

The attendees were not engineers or Internet monetization experts, but a less celebrated breed in the Silicon Valley landscape: public relations officials.

INTERNET-SOCIALMEDIA/PRIVACYFacebook had summoned the hard-working spinmeisters to Palo Alto make its own pitch to them.

Dozens of “flacks” (as those in the PR trade are affectionately referred to by reporters) were escorted into Facebook’s cafeteria for a series of briefings by a team of Facebook officials that included Randi Zuckerberg (the sister of 26-year-old co-founder and CEO Mark).

With half-a-billion users, Facebook has become an established platform for everything from video games to e-commerce. The purpose of Tuesday’s unusual gathering was to showcase Facebook’s strengths as a public relations tool for companies.

“The parking lot was packed. They were shuttling people in,” said one attendee, noting that representatives from companies like eBay and Electronic Arts, as well as the big public relations agencies like Ogilvy, were all in attendance.

Live video streaming of special events and finely-targeted marketing pitches are all examples of how Facebook can play a role in public relations campaigns, the Facebook team explained.

And for Facebook, playing a bigger role in public relations – with its close ties to corporate marketing and advertising dollars – represents an attractive opportunity.

The event concluded with cocktails and appetizers on the roof – a bit of revelry to commemorate the new alliance…

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Everyone knows that flack is a derogatory term not an affectionate one. PR people are an enormous help to reporters despite the impression this writer gives. Without PR people Facebook would die a brief and painful death.

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[…] Facebook: Welcome PR “flacks” of the world | Reuters – interesting that Facebook felt PRs needed a 101 in the social network. Is engagement slipping? […]

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[…] as Ogilvy & Mather, was designed to showcase Facebook’s strengths as a PR platform. A report on the Reuters Mediafile blog says Facebook officials including Randi Zuckerberg explained how tools such as live-streaming […]

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