PR for People Monthly JANUARY 2019 | Page 4

Alexis C. Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic, is credited with the term “Dark Social,” based upon an article he wrote in 2012. Dark Social is a loose catchall phrase to describe website traffic that comes from the private sharing of website links through texts, emails and chats. Only you can see Dark Posts in your Facebook news feed because algorithms are targeting you personally. For everyone else, Dark Posts remain unpublished.

I rub my hands with glee when I remember the key takeaway from a media summit that I attended last year. A digital strategist for The New Yorker prepared a ppt presentation with 25 tips to navigate the Dark Web. Only one tip was a keeper. ABT. Always Be Trying. That was last year. What can you expect this year? Just face it: your name will never be in lights.

Navigating the internet and social media is easy, but don’t be deceived. The digital world is a dark and unforgiving place. Dark Social. Dark Content. Dark Posts. Dark P.R. The Dark Web. Bullies, flamers and trolls, oh my. The worst is yet to come. P.R., marketing and branding experts have been humbled by the vagaries, snafus and traps posed by the Dark Web. If the experts are brought to their knees, why do you think you can make it work for you?

Who are you? Maybe you’re a business coach or designer, an accountant or a lawyer, a scientist or a small business person; the self-employed come in all stripes and flavors and account for 30% of the work force.* There is a fine line between being self-employed and being unemployed, and that line grows sharper every day. Hang out your shingle. Can’t get business? You don’t work.

Self-employed freelancers and entrepreneurs view P.R. as the holy grail that will make the difference between being obscure and unemployed and becoming known and prosperous. But P.R. has changed, and it has become a very dark practice. Let’s take a quick look at P.R. now and then. As recently as 2012, successful P.R. campaigns could be waged in three simple steps: You promoted yourself on your website. You sent out press releases to a short media list. You sent targeted email to your community. Using these same three tactics today will yield nothing.

What happened to change the playing field? How good you are or how hard you work is no longer relevant when the playing field is gamed by algorithms churning out bots, trolls, ads and memes. P.R practitioners can no

Making Your Mark

Through the Dark

by Patricia Vaccarino