Another fact we like to touch on often here at JoTo PR is that what we do is steeped on long-standing history! We tend to think of PR as arising throughout the middle and latter half of the twentieth century, but it’s actually been around in many forms since nearly the dawn of human existence. Check it out:
Egyptian Hieroglyphs, 3300 BC. These “sacred carvings” were commonly written by royalty, priests and civil officers to communicate prayers, magical texts, worship details, ideas about life after death, royal documents, biographies and calculations. They often promoted the worship of the king as a god and served as a “record” of his good works.
Rhetoric and Ancient Greece, 469 BC. Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle heavily influenced Western philosophy. Based in Athens, Socrates (born 469 BC) engaged young crowds of thinkers in debate in public areas. Great thinker-philosophers known as “sophists” taught nobleman seeking public office the art of persuasion through rhetoric.
Martin Luther, the Gutenberg Press, and the Protestant Reformation, 1517. The “95 Theses” posted by Martin Luther to the Wittenberg Palace church door listed Luther’s grievances with the Catholic Church. Using the Gutenberg printing press, Luther supporters made copies of the theses, spreading the word across and beyond Germany.
Boston Tea Party, 1773. American colonist and Founding Father Samuel Adams was considered by some a “master of propaganda” who promoted political messages to oppose the British monarchy. Using the written word to motivate change, he famously inspired the Boston Tea Party, a tax protest he publicized to great advantage.
The Abolitionist Movement, 1830s-40s. In 1845, Frederick Douglass, an African-American statesman and leader of the abolitionist movement, was inspired to publish the North Star, an anti-slavery newspaper. The North Star was inspired by William Lloyd Garrison’s weekly anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator, launched in 1831.
If we just introduce television, the Internet, and some other new technologies, we end up in the PR situation we have today. Maybe the largest technology that’s emerged is online and smartphone social media, which allows information to be shared by anyone, anywhere, and to travel at the speed of light. Throughout history, it’s clear, we’ve always needed and found ways to get our messages out.
Limits on our communications strategies are only the limits of human creativity.
- The Museum of Public Relations. “Public Relations Through the Ages: A Timeline of Social Movements, Technology Milestones and the Rise of the Profession.” prmuseum.org. 4 May 2018. http://www.prmuseum.org/pr-timeline/