• Alexia Anastasiou

Is it Digital and Social Media, not Parliament that have been the architect of Brexit?

Is it Digital and Social Media, not Parliament that have been the architect of Brexit?

When we look back on history, we will realise we have lived through something so momentous in shaping the future of our country and nation… and I’m not talking about Brexit. But of course, (as it obviously continues to dominate the news agenda) I will start there. This morning listening to the news and hearing from many MPs being interviewed ahead of the big vote it got me thinking about what has really defined the outcome of Brexit – the votes, views and intentions of MPs or the existence of Digital and Social Media?

Ironically I would say that while many feel powerless over the choice being made about the future of their country, we have never been more in control than we are now. With Digital and Social Media ingrained in the fabric of what most of us do, hear and see, it has like never before given us the ability to contribute to, change and persuade otherwise the way people think about whatever we so wish thanks to its rolling nature.

Just ten or fifteen years ago the world mainly relied on the print media for its daily update of news. The morning’s headlines generally had an all-day impact enabling those stories to effectively crystallise in our minds. Changing a view subsequent to a big story was a much harder task because of that. Today we find that print headlines are out of date before breakfast is finished, and I imagine that many of us feel more than a little flippant about some of what we read. Now that we have the ability to comment on articles published online by newspapers and magazines, as well as interact on Facebook and a variety of other channels, the reader has also become the story teller. We no longer just read and wait for the next update, we can participate and help shape what is set to come next.

Back to Brexit and what’s also been fascinating is talk about how the rules and general courtesies of politics have been broken as Brexit seems to coexist in a stratosphere all of its own. I can also see parallels with the way PR is evolving in this context. We are starting to see some PR rules being rewritten – thanks again to Digital and Social Media. The saying that a reputation can be destroyed in seconds is still true, but we cannot deny that over recent weeks we have witnessed political reputations being destroyed then quickly resurrected, again I would say the driving factor of this is the nature of Digital and Social Media, and that we are all a part of the news roller coaster rather than just the consumer of it as we once were. While our industry thankfully is not seen through the same lense as politics, I wonder whether these shifting sands will inevitably trigger change in other industries and effectively rewrite the rulebook across PR and communications generally. The growth of Digital and Social Media has meant that the medium has become the architect of the outcome, and organisations must ensure they are poised to be at the forefront of this revolution.

#Digital #SocialMedia