Burgeoning PlatfoRms

      50 Comments on Burgeoning PlatfoRms
Harold Burson

Harold Burson

Back when Harold Burson teamed with William Marstellar to start a PR agency in 1953, radio was losing its status as the only form of communication by which millions of people could share information simultaneously.  By then, seven million television sets had been sold in the U.S. and while TV was in its infancy, a massive shift began in the way audiences were entertained and informed.  Plus, thousands of professionals who had provided content for radio programs moved to the new medium, leaving radio to re-invent itself in order to survive.

In a recent article in Tactics, PRSA‘s newspaper, Burson observed a fundamental truth about PR and another massive shift in media platforms.  As a result, his company is re-inventing itself, moving to “a much closer integration between public relations and advertising, and promotion and direct marketing.”

In recent years, experts have called our deepening overlap of communication techniques “integrated marketing communication.”  Last week at a Public Relations Professionals of Long Island event,  Zimmerman/Edelson’s David Chauvin noted that his agency is shifting its focus to “integrated content.”  Because audiences receive information from a burgeoning array of web- and mobile-based platforms, public relations practitioners will be increasingly called upon to become content providers.  And we’re not just talking social media; PR people will create more and more content for broadcast and cable plus thousands of newspapers and niche magazines, each with their own web sites, blogs, podcasts and other media channels.

“The people in this business have known for generations that the most effective communication is word-of-mouth,” said Burson, whose company, Burson-Marstellar, is now the world’s largest PR firm. “I see word-of-mouth as the basis of today’s social media.  The fact that you can multiply word of mouth by thousands, tens of thousands, millions, has made social media a very potent tool.”

The need for content heightens the demand for PR people who are top writers and producers, and presents exciting challenges for present and future professionals.  It’s a fast-changing PR world, and like 92-year-old Harold Burson, we all must keep up.  Your thoughts?

50 thoughts on “Burgeoning PlatfoRms

  1. Francesca Bove

    I think that PR is surely a fast paced changing world. And with the current social media revolution taking over it has made the PR world even more fast paced. I think that this definitely presents a challenge for PR professionals but I think its an exciting one. I think that social media, like anything brings both positive and negatives to the PR world. Just as it makes it ten times easier for PR professionals to get their information out to the public for organizations and deal with complaints/crisis faster, it also makes it just as easy for the public to express what might be negative opinions about organizations. It certainly never allows for a dull moment for PR Professionals which only add excitement to the job.

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  2. Robert Ryan

    First of all, its awesome for Harold Burson that he’s still keeping up with the times at 92 years old. My 75 year old grandfather doesn’t want to be bothered by any of it, but of course he’s a retired truck driver, not a PR professional that has been communicating with forms of media his entire life. Thinking back to a couple years ago I had no clue what twitter even was and now its all I’m ever on. Things change fast especially with how much pressure there is on companies to have the biggest, coolest, best technology you can possibly have. You have to adapt to the world around you and the PR professional that can write not only press releases, but knows how to create popular social media posts as well is extremely valuable.

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  3. lmansl1

    In a world where one person is now doing the job of five people yet not getting paid what they deserve I believe this is a phenomena that will encompass PR firms as well. Companies are looking for a one-stop shop where they can get all their advertising, branding, and PR done. I have already seen many PR companies that offer digital and visual creative abilities. Those PR companies that can offer absolutely everything to the client will be the ones to get ahead

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  4. Jordan Richmond

    One thing that worries me about social media is that it continuously keeps you connected to the world. I know that that’s a really convenient thing, but it means you never can stop doing your job. If you’re not continuously connected and something noteworthy happens, then you’re missing out. However, the increasing demand and continuously changing format of PR is neat, and I’m excited to see how we continue to grow and become more connected throughout our professional careers in the future.

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  5. Alexandra Ciongoli

    Despite how useful and convenient social media is, I am a little nervous entering into the PR world now that social media is taking over the business aspect of companies. I think that just because it’s handy doesn’t mean that social media is automatically better than older methods of communication, such as face-to-face communication or even email or phone calls. I think that taking care to not forget the good old days is just as important as keeping up with the new age of the business world.

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  6. Joe Flanagan

    I absolutely agree with Mr. Burson, as the media world is vastly changing, the need for PR professionals is greatly increasing. At the same time, there needs to be a way for these professionals to reinvent themselves so they do not fall behind the fast moving society of today. There will be an increase in integration between PR, marketing, as well as advertising over time in order to keep up with the rapidly changing society we live in.

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  7. Reina Morison

    Things are always going to keep changing and the PR world, just like everything else, is going to just have to keep adapting to new ways. I think its smart for companies to try to use integrated marketing communications because PR, Advertising, and marketing are all essential and can play well of of each other when each department is working together.

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  8. Emily Green

    The pace at which everything changes is one of the things that make the PR so exciting. That being said, it is a necessity that PR professionals are willing to learn all of the new things immediately. Also, as important as the use of social media is for the PR professional, it is imperative to remember that word-of-mouth is always the most effective tool. As the world is changing, we must also remember the basics.

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  9. Olga

    That is 100% true, that ”word-of-mouth is the basis of today’s social media”. As consumers, most of us refer to the on-line sources where other customers are leaving their opinions about products or services. Smart companies see in social media a tremendous potential to create relationships with their clients. Obviously, more and more businesses will need professionals who are able to create, write and take advantage of nowadays technologies. PR professionals should definitely have their fingers on the pulse of modern communication trends.

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  10. Jaime Silano

    As technology develops, another information revolution is happening in the modern business world. As we have discussed in class, social media opens countless doors for communications that we are just starting to understand how to utilize. I am impressed with Burson Marstellar’s ability to see this change and recognize the need to understand it. As PR professionals, we should understand how to use all possible outlets to communicate messages to different markets. I think this is hugely relevant and interesting to communications professionals.

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  11. acasole

    We live in a technological world that is constantly updating and changing. This blog posting proposes the issue about radio communication losing its value and shifting to television in the past, yet we are starting to experience a transformation like this today. Now the Internet is becoming more and more prominent each and every day. Many people use the Internet as their main source for communication and information. It is now taking over some of the major roles that television has to offer. The Internet offers an efficient and effective way to get news and websites like Netflix allow us to stream television series right off of our computer screens. This is proof that we live in a technological world that is constantly changing and improving. These frequent advancements really stress the importance of staying up to date with the changing of the times, especially in a field like Public Relations. This presents a challenge for PR professionals, but also keeps the field interesting in my opinion. Even with the importance of technology in this modern world that we live in, I agree with the quote in the article that describes the most effective form of communication to be word-of-mouth. Even with all of these technological advancements, this statement still stands to be true.

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  12. Kim Gray

    The world is constantly changing and it is important as PR professionals to keep up and adapt to these changes. PR is becoming a fast paced career. New additions of forms of communication are changing drastically and is now accessible to anyone. Social media is constantly growing making the PR field ever more fast pace and exciting.

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  13. Lauren Platt

    I do believe that PR is changing everyday. With new social media coming out all the time, it is important for the PR people to adjust how they are getting their information out to the public. It remains to be seen what will happen next in the fast changing world of technology and it will be exciting to see how PR professionals utilize the new media.

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  14. Sharlys Leszczuk

    It is very important for PR agencies to adjust to the market provided. Like Burson, he saw that televisions were becoming more influential and that radio was not the only way to communicate anymore. However, some things will never change, such as the effectiveness of word of mouth communication. Word of mouth communication always has a higher level of credibility behind it. When a company runs a social networking site, they are speaking solely for themselves, so it is easy to be skeptical about what they say about their products because they’re just trying to sell. When someone you know posts on their own Facebook or tells you in person how great a product they bought is, you know that it has been tested by an unbiased consumer, and the product was successful.

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  15. rachelcarru2

    PR, like my other major, journalism, is constantly changing. In fact, the speedy development of technology drives all professions. Without technology constantly progressing, the job force would grow at a much slower rate. Especially in the world of communications, technology has helped its workers release information instantaneously. This is important, however, knowing the basics is very important as well. With a basic knowledge of the material before technology, one will be able to surpass others in the PR field who must rely only on their knowledge of social media and technology.

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  16. Nick Stiles

    PR is constantly changing. With the creation of new technologies and the development of different news outlets it is important for PR professionals to recognize and evolve with these changes. Especially today there are so many outlets with all the social media sites as well as the prevalence of television PR professionals need to have a presence everywhere and utilize these outlets effectively.

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  17. Brenna O'Shea

    I agree that the industry of public relations is fast changing. Look how much has changed since since the 1950’s. Today, social media is a huge focus within PR and advertising. The industries have to change and adapt with the current trend of everything/everyone around them. This doesn’t just go for PR and advertising. Every business has to keep up with technology or they will fall behind and will not be much of an interest to anyone. It’s inevitable. It’s a part of the world we all live in today which brings much excitement into our everyday lives.

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  18. Nathalie Salazar

    I absolutely agree with Burson’s statement that the most effective communication is word-of-mouth. Because of social media, the power has shifted to the individual consumer. Social media has created a platform where each and every consumer can voice their opinion and most importantly be heard! I believe that PR is important when it comes to social media because it is essentially our job to be involved in this “two-way street” of communication. PR creates the reciprocity between a consumer and a company.

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  19. cmadsenpr

    I think this change in the media world is a great step for the PR world. It’s awesome that companies are more heavily relying on PR people, that means there will be lots of promising job opportunities for us up-and-coming PR professionals! I think strong writing skills have always been a necessary skill for people in the PR field, but it’s making it even more impressive with these new advances. We HAVE to be on our game when it comes to writing and getting the message out there properly, and now we are even more important. Social media changed the spreading of messages for the better. I look forward to seeing how everything changes within the next few years as our generation starts to get jobs.

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  20. jeremydbeck

    I really appreciate the quote about the most effective communication is word-of-mouth, and how that translates to social media. I think it’s important to understand the fundamentals in order to integrate them into this faster-paced world. Integration is always important, especially in PR so more people will see it and talk about it. The reality is there are many mediums and they are all essential to communication.

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  21. marilynoliver

    Reading these kinds of articles and blog posts makes me even more excited to be in PR! I love variety and knew early on I needed that in a career and as challenging as PR can be it certainly provides variety! The public relations profession in general has been seeing a trend in the past decade, when lined up against the journalism and advertising profession, that PR is expanding its realm of coverage and influence. It certainly calls for more skills for the PR professional to hone but what an exciting outlook on the profession!

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  22. jessicaxxrebello

    I believe that changing social media trends have greatly affected the PR world. Because social media is such an important part of PR, the greater usage of social media in the past few years has opened up a new world for PR. With the rising popularity of Instagram, I now find myself following the social media accounts of clothing, handbag, jewelry companies, etc. and am able to see the ways in which they use this form of social media to help promote their companies. Keeping up with the changing PR world is defiantly important, by doing so PR people will know how to reach their target audiences in the most effective ways.

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  23. Julia Ryan

    These new opportunities are very exciting to me! It is great to hear that these new duties will soon be implemented, because it shows a growing demand for PR practitioners –an extremely optimistic thought for a college student who is just about one semester away from ‘real life.’ As mentioned in your blog post, the world of public relations is in constant change, and I think that is what attracts me to it so much. The field is fast-paced and requires the best and the brightest who are able to be dynamic and adapt to change.

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  24. Ariana Goldklang

    I think one of the most interesting and fun things about PR is that it is so fast-paced and changing. It isn’t the same thing every day and what’s good about it is that we get to learn and adapt with it as it grows. I think it’s very important for us to keep up with technology and social media in order to also keep up with PR.

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  25. Danie Zolezzi

    First of all, Harold Burson is the cutest, little old man I’ve ever seen. Second of all, he’s absolutely right. If you’re not with the times, the world will leave you behind. The same can be said about the PR industry. Staying up to date with current events and ideas will truly make or break someone It can be very exciting yet stressful at the same time.

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  26. Laurel Smith

    Though your post this week has some great points, I must add that what you wrote was also somewhat obvious. Without meaning offense, I believe that what you stated in your post is already common knowledge to many. The world IS always changing. Therefore PR, along with everyone else, must adapt to keep up. So then, it is no surprise to me that “integrated marketing communications” is what PR is headed towards next.
    The challenge then, is to be able to predict where society is heading and what moves should be further taken. As it is said quite often, one must be two steps ahead of the game. For success, this is key. To be able to be the first to head towards a profiting choice is truly valuable.

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    1. Jeff Morosoff

      I guess my main point–that large and small agencies are shifting their focus to providing content across many platforms–got lost in the my final paragraph. I didn’t mean to be so obvious! 🙂

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  27. Alyssa O'Brien

    It is encouraging to know that regardless of the form of a message the quality of the content withstands the test of time. Many people are caught up in the details of superficiality, or a message’s surface level. They find it hard to understand the message’s encoding, and for that reason may not value or understand it. This partially explains why elderly people typically shy away from learning how to use new technology.
    As a student of communications, learning the simple parts of a message allow me to see that a message’s content is the most important part. The form of the message is not as important as what the message conveys. As I venture into my career I hope to remember that decoding a message does not change even the format by which the message is communicated does.

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  28. Kelly Cormier

    I agree that PR is one of the most fast-paced and quickly changing professions that exists. Although this is one of the main challenges of being a PR Professional, having to keep up with changes in social media and communication technologies is also exciting and can make for a much more enriching and enjoyable career.

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  29. akrame27

    PR professionals are constantly on the move to keep up with this fast paced society we live in. Social media has allowed the communication line to consumers and target audiences to be available at all times. I feel that social media has become one of the most important PR tools that is vital to use in order to communicate to the public. While face to face interaction is still important in public relations, social media has definitely been an important tool to utilize.

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  30. Adriana zappolo

    As a PR professional, it is extremely important to be on top of your game at all times. PR people utilize all sources of media to effectively communicate with the public and capture the attention of their target audiences. In my opinion, it is impossible to stay relevant and successful in the PR world if you fail to keep up with changes in technology and forms of communication.

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  31. Sarah ElSayed

    As communication changes throughout the years, I also believe that we should adapt to our changing times. Since so much money goes into the funding and brainstorming of electronics that are invented to make our lives easier, we should utilize these tools to help us form two-way communication amongst more and more groups.

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  32. Max Eisenberg

    Any field requires someone to keep up with the changes in technology and thought. PR professionals must be slightly ahead of the curve and must always be aware of and understand these changes to be on their A-game. However, despite the changes in tactics and technology, the tried and true will always be the best tools in a PR professional’s arsenal.

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  33. Isabela Jacobsen

    One of the qualities I believe a PR person should have is the capability of adapting to new environments. Public relations is a fast-changing world and PR people need to be ready to change with it, which is why Harold Burson seems so successful! In this post, Burson realizes that we are all changing and I agree with what he has to say. Adaptation can be pretty tough, however, I think it’s necessary if working with PR.

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  34. Brittany Witter

    I think that the world that we live in today is ever changing. And without a doubt as PR professionals it is our job to stay on top of any and all changes. Social media is huge right now and it is vital to stay on top of it, however to be a successful PR professional we must also think about what could be next and how could that next tool help us get content and information to our publics.

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  35. csawye2

    One of the things that attracted me to public relations was how it was constantly changing. It is a field that is always changing and allows PR professionals to be doing something different everyday. A huge part of PR is social media it allows organizations to reach out to their consumers and interact with them. As the field is always changing word of mouth is important aspect that has been around since before social media and will continue to be an important aspect of PR.

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  36. willmartinez29

    Your post reiterates an important fact about today’s communication field: being a great communicator is about more than just public relations. With the evolution of social media and the increasing power of word-of-mouth, a successful communications practitioner needs to be able to be a master of public relations, advertising and marketing. The internet has created an “integrated marketing communication” field that must be utilized by all public relations practitioners in order to stay relevant in today’s industry.

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  37. Yeliz A

    It’s a fast-paced world for almost any communications major. As a journalism major we have to acknowledge the fact that the industry is constantly changing and we have to find more creative and unique ways to get the message to the public, and to get it out fast. In terms of PR I think it’s great that companies are looking towards a more integrated marketing system and are not just focusing on social media. Communication and the spread of messages are most successful when those messages are spread over several different mass media outlets.

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  38. Brie

    The field of PR is constantly changing. The addition of social media is an example of a drastic change in communications especially word-of-mouth advertising. Social media is an excellent way of communicating to various audiences. Furthermore the audiences do the work for the company by constantly talking, tweeting, re-posting etc…. It is a necessary and crucial tool today and extremely useful but other tools are important to utilize as well and mustn’t be forgotten.

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  39. Rachel Tyler

    What makes PR great is that it is fast-changing. Things change over time. The constant change may be irritating but this is why I find PR so exciting. The PR field has the ability to adapt to these changes and continue to grow. It is reasons like this that I believe PR is one of the fastest growing fields out there right now.

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  40. Richard Rocha

    This is the reason I want to work in Public Relations. It is one of the fastest growing fields out there, thus it never gets boring. It is exciting to be entering a field that has such an ambiguous but promising future. You never know what the field is going to be like tomorrow, but you know that trends show PR is increasingly popular and necessary for companies to compete.

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  41. Leia Schultz

    This is what makes the public relations industry so fun – it’s dynamic, and must evolve to stay current. To be influential, PR professionals need be cognizant of the social circumstances and be able to respond in the messages they produce. It’s an exciting field, and to be at the top of their game – like Burson – PR professionals must be aware of the media’s shifting nature.

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  42. Whitney Shepherd

    I 100% agree that the most effective communication skill is word-of-mouth. The PR world is always changing and always adapting to the fast pace world, which is one reason why I was so interested in the profession in the first place. Although social media is so popular and most of the world is logged on, there are still many people in the world that are not plugged in and the communication industry must not forget about those people. Making sure that all communication options are covered is a smart move by the PR industry and it can only get bigger from here.

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  43. Zoe Hoffmann

    What originally interested me about the PR industry was how fast-paced it was and how often it changes. The fact that PR is now changing based on other media and mediums of how we get news, is really not surprising. Advertising had to adapt when social media became popular, and PR followed suit. Word of mouth has become so popular as a way of getting information because of people are more likely to trust their friends than journalists and editors. Because of that, PR has been able to become even more powerful. We have to keep up with the changing ways because that is what make PR relevant.

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  44. Chelsey Fuller

    As a PR professional you have to be aware of how people are receiving and gathering information, and at this day and age social media is that outlet. I think it is great that firms are focusing so much on integrating content. I also think this is great for upcoming professionals. It shows that the business is fast-paced and you cannot get too comfortable with just one thing. You need to be able to adapt with the times and technology. To me, it just makes me excited to enter the field because I love how things change and how i must constantly be open to the change because I get to experience new things and new ideas.

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  45. Cody Dano

    I completely agree that PR is a fast changing profession. PR today is completely different from what PR was back in the 1950’s when Burson-Marsteller was established. Today, we basically live off of social media. Everyone is obsessed with checking their Facebook and Twitter feeds. We must learn to shift in this direction too if PR is going to grow and evolve as a profession.

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  46. rachaeldurant

    The communications industry is subject to how technology changes. PR professionals must be willing to be flexible and learn new tools for their clients. It is not enough to only know one specific medium for communication. PR professionals must be able to job-craft in order to satisfy client and public needs. It is exciting to be in an industry that is constantly changing. It allows for more creativity.

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  47. croyal13

    The entire communications industry is fast paced and quickly changing. Information is now accessible to anyone from any where, posing a new challenge to PR professionals. However, aspiring journalists and PR reps must adjust to this new environment in order to distinguish them selves. I do believe that face to face interactions and personal meetings are more affective than the use of digital platforms. However, professionsls must use all tools available.

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  48. Alexandra Cohen

    PR is most definitely a fast-changing world. It’s important for PR professionals to use social media to get their message out, but I do agree that word-of-mouth is the most effective way for that to happen. PR professionals should be using other means of communication besides social media because there needs to be more ways to reach and inform the public. No one really knows what the future may hold and what big PR changes will happen.

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  49. Lyndi Catania

    I most certainly agree that it’s a fast-changing PR world. Although the constant changes and additons to the communication world may be challenging to fulfill at times, I think it is exciting. Social media is one of the most important tools in PR today and many professionals are taking advantage of that. Even though social media is at the top of the list, it’s important to utilize the other tools the best way possible as well.

    Reply

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