What do Confucius and Edward Bernays have in common? Can you find a link between historical villains Genghis Khan and Joseph Goebbels? How were cave paintings, the printing press, and social media fundamental to public relations? The answers can be found in a timeline just launched by the Museum of Public Relations and sponsored by Hofstra University.
“Public Relations Through the Ages: A Timeline of Social Movements, Technology Milestones and the Rise of the Profession” uses 36 beautifully-designed slides and text to illustrate the evolution of our profession and its relationship to the development of human communication. According to the museum’s web site, “This timeline highlights the significant people, events and inventions which have connected messages and messengers through the ages.”
The timeline is the brainchild of Shelley Spector, the executive director and founder of the Museum of Public Relations, the only PR museum in the world. Shelley correctly observes that the history of PR is fundamentally tied to the evolution of communication. For thousands of years, religion, politics and essentially all human interaction have public relations skills and strategies at their foundation.
For example, within the timeline you’ll learn that ancient Greek thinker-philosophers known as “sophists” taught nobleman seeking public office the art of persuasion; Saint Patrick of Ireland helped spread Christianity by using the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity; the word propaganda, the Latin word for plant and animal reproduction, was later used as a method for spreading information, most heinously by the Nazis; the Boston Tea Party was an early example of a “pseudo event” for publicity’s sake; and that many of today’s large PR agencies are run by international holding companies.
Designed by Shelley’s husband Barry Spector with input from yours truly, the timeline will serve as a superb jumping off point for students, educators and researchers alike to learn from and form a broader perspective on the practice of public relations. A narrated version will go on the road and be available for viewing soon. Please click here to take a look at the timeline and comment. Your thoughts?