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Abstract

Public relations practitioners are today faced with publics that are non-human. Internet robots now account for more than 60 per cent of internet activity. Building and maintaining an active digital persona on the internet is an important part of that non-human activity. James Grunig’s situational theory of publics started the shift away from an organisation-centric view of public relations towards a relationship based view. However, this shift should be in the direction of dialogic methodology and not traditional functionalist approaches to relationships; something to be controlled. In this paper, the author discusses the rise of the super aggregators as a potential constraint on non‐human publics, the importance of active digital personae, and origins of the theoretical discussion on dialogue. New skills are required by practitioners if they are to deploy active digital personae successfully and importantly to protect those personae.