Question: "Is social media replacing the celebrity publicist?" - JB
Of course not, on the contrary! Publicists are excited about the opportunities social media outlets such as Facebook, twitter, instagram and tumbler offer to their clients. Social media has become such a powerful tool that Publicists and apprentices alike are finding creative ways to acclimate such sites into PR campaigns. We encourage clients to be more active on them. We urge them to promote new projects, events, and increase awareness on anything that raises positive attention for the client's benefit.
A Great example of when social media goes right is Kanye West's tweets announcing the launch of his design company. With a couple of keys on his smart-phone West had the web abuzz. He notified millions of like-minded people of the speculated groundbreaking, available job positions, his aspirations for the company, the premise behind it and much more. Although he made theofficial announcement before his PR rep could, this does not take away or undermine their duties one bit. Publicists notify the media via an official press release or statement and the media notifies the public. These steps before social media were and in some cases still are very time consuming, taking attention away from more important duties. However, now celebrities are able to spread the word and get the ball rolling within seconds.
There are also examples of when Kanye needed the support of his PR team with his many "What the hell was he thinking" moments. Celebrities for the most part know what not to say in public forums. The reality is they are human. Their expertise consists of their particular talent(s) and not necessarily how to maintain their direct relationships with the public and the public's interest in their personal lives. The same social media outlets used to share great news are also used to issue apologies and thanks to the warp speed of cyber space these apologies normally come before their PR rep can issue an official statement on their behalf. This is actually perceived as more "sincere". Let's be honest who actually takes an apology from an unknown person behind the curtain seriously? Most statements issued on behalf of someone are perceived as very detached and disingenuous. Social media is removing this cold element and although this alone will raise the question, "If celebs can now directly apologize on their own, why do they need Publicists?"
Answer, social media will never replace the human element and physical work that goes into maintaining the lucrative brands developed around celebrities. Social media is praised for its fast delivery and ability to connect the entire world with one press of the "Enter" key. It displays the exact reasons why more then ever publicists are needed to maintain the overall stability of quality information that upholds the public's interest in the clients.