Public relations (PR) has often been viewed negatively because of the existence of spin. PR spin involves “manipulating the truth, hiding facts or presenting false information” (Wolcott, 2011). Spin also occurs when “companies are seen to use deceptive or manipulative tactics to gain the public’s goodwill” (Kennedy, 2010). Spin has led PR practitioners to be labelled as “spin doctors” and created a sense of distrust towards the practitioners and industry.
But, it could argued that spin is losing its effectiveness. Regulatory bodies for PR, such as the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Institute of Public Relations of Singapore (IPRS) have put in place a Code of Ethics that provides practitioners with guidelines on how to go about their work ethically. Also, practitioners themselves see the need to remove spin from their scope of work. As trust with the public is essential in PR work, most practitioners approach their clients with the intention of using aboveboard methods to put the clients in good favour with the public.
Social media has also contributed to the reduction of spin by making it “easier for consumers to learn about the mix-ups and and blunders committed in the name of trying to influence what they buy and believe” (Elliott, 2011). Social media has become the filter where by users can inform one another if a company is genuinely trying to influence the public in the right way or is employing spin to fool them. The speed at which social media transmits such information means that companies must be responsible in their actions. Social media has the power to make known to the world any backlash from the public, and this can be detrimental to the existence and reputation of the said companies.
Elliot, S. (2011). Redefining Public Relations in the Age of Social Media, The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/business/media/redefining-public-relations-in-the-age-of-social-media.html?_r=0
Kennedy, M. (2010). Pubic Relations: Not Just the Spin Zone Retrieved 4 July 2013, from http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/public-relations-spin-zone/
Wolcott, D. (2011). Definition of SPIN. Retrieved from http://losangelespr.blogspot.sg/2011/03/definition-of-spin.html