I've had several people point out an article in the New York Times from last week that talks about how social media is changing the way publicists do their work.
The article points out that the day when deadlines, launch parties, press tours, news releases and getting the "right editor" to cover the news is long gone. What the article doesn't mention is that very few companies want to put in the time and effort to do that kind of work, much less pay for it. Most of them have gotten used to being able to crank out a cookie cutter news release, put it up on a discount wire service for a couple hundred bucks, hire a desperate publicist to make a couple of phone calls for about $300, and wait for the clips to come rolling in. Of course they don't anymore so it's all the publicist's fault.
What the Times article is describing is a much more labor intensive process. Now publicists have to deal with hundreds of bloggers and social media gurus to get the word out. It requires strategic planning, as well as good old fashioned dumb luck to make a successful roll out.
There are lots of companies that are getting this and are working to do REAL public relations using social media mavens, but most are still stuck in the paradigm of the late 20th century. It's too bad, too, some of these companies have really interesting tech.