THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTICE
The Impact Of Social Media On Public Relations Practice
A SUMMARY OF THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTICE
The impact of social media has grown among consumers globally, leading to a rise in the use of social media by many public relations professionals as a technique and a way to share information. The impact of social media on the practice of public relations must be examined because this new form of communication is developing so quickly. The communications industry is rapidly shifting toward digital channels, and those who are aware of this change will be able to communicate much more effectively than those who are not. Practitioners of public relations are in the business of connecting with the public, therefore they need to be aware of this transition in order to do so successfully. However, It is challenging for these experts, as well as the colleges educating future professionals, to stay current owing to the quick development of social media. For instance, blogs are becoming more and more popular because they provide freedom from traditional editors and media gatekeeping (Pavlik, 2007). Both the publishing of blogs to better position oneself in the eyes of the public and the usage of blogs as a tool for information gathering are growing.
CHAPTER ONE OF THE EFFECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATION
Background of the study
Although social networks, corporate websites, chat-rooms, email customer response facilities and electronic news release distribution are now viewed as standard aspects of public relations practice (Galloway, 2005) many public relations practitioners are struggling with the impact of new media, and especially the Internet. Research has shown that practitioners are not fully embracing new media, are ill-equipped to do so and have a fear of the technology (Alfonso & de Valbuena Miguel, 2006).
The landscape of public relations practice is changing as a result of new media’s significant gains in stakeholder strength through improving communication both inside and across stakeholder groups (Van der Merwe, Pitt & Abratt, 2005). News now comes in “astoundingly quickly from an incredible number of ways” (Stephens 2007, p. 35) and is frequently free. Information “pours out of digital spigots” (Stephens 2007, p. 35).
A team of researchers led by Dr. Robert W. Taylor of the US Defense Department first created the Internet in the 1960s. It was an expansion of their ARPANET network. The need for networking was quickly recognized by the researchers, and in 1986 the National Science Foundation of the United States created NSFNET to expand the network to other research institutes. While ARPANET was discontinued in 1990, the Internet expanded quickly throughout the world and reached one million users in 1992. (Falk, 1994; Giovannetti, Kagami & Tsuji, 2003). Only in the late 1990s did the Internet start to have an influence on our daily lives.as a result of the growth of the World Wide Web (Gillies & Cailliau, 2000; Giovannetti et al., 2003). Since then, the Internet has been widely utilized for communication across borders and quick access to information. The Internet started to be used more and more in a variety of businesses, from retail and banking to the media, due to its qualities of speed, efficiency, and economy (Giovannetti et al., 2003). The World Wide Web now goes by the label “Web 2.0” due to the advent of social media in the new millennium (Breakenridge, 2008). Despite the fact that social media has several meanings, in general it is a platform for individuals to interact and share material using Internet technologies including video-sharing, photo-sharing, blogs, and social media websites for networking, virtual worlds, and microblogs (Mersham, Theunissen & Peart, 2009). According to Seitel (2001, p. 298), British futurist Peter Cochrane stated in 1998, “If you are not online, you don’t exist,” describing the state of the world in the twenty-first century. Without a question, the Internet has revolutionized our lives and our careers more dramatically over the past ten years than any other form of communication. One profession that has been significantly impacted by this internet revolution is the discipline of public relations (Phillips, 2001). Rex Harlow, a pioneer in public relations education, described the modern discipline of public relations in 1976 after looking at around 500 definitions and came to the following conclusions: 2 Public relations is a unique management function that aids in establishing and maintaining channels of communication, understanding, acceptance, and cooperation between an organization and its public; it involves the management of problems or issues; aids management in staying informed about and responsive to public opinion; highlights the managerial duty to serve the public interest; aids management in keeping up with, and eprimary tool (2000, p. 4; Cutlip, Center, & Broom) Broom (2009, p. 25) responds to this description by providing a shorter definition of public relations as “the management function that builds and maintains mutually beneficial connections between an organization and the publics on which its success or failure rests.” As can be seen from the two definitions above, public relations is fundamentally about communicating effectively in order to establish lasting connections and Consequently, the Internet’s use as a communication tool must have an impact on the profession. The current literature has extensively discussed the effect of the Internet on public relations (see 2.2 and 2.3), but the study has mostly focused on evaluating the usage of emails and websites in the public relations roles of media relations and crisis communication. The general conclusion about how public relations professionals use the Internet is that they frequently use online tools in a way that is similar to how they use conventional media tools like print and broadcast and neglect to integrate the Internet into their strategic planning process (see 2.4). While the Internet has a number of benefits, Practitioners taking part in earlier studies have expressed their concerns over a number of issues, such as the accentuation of crises due to the globalized networking on the Internet and the difficulty in keeping up with the constantly changing Internet world. These issues include the reduced costs, enhanced speed, customization, and direct contact with the target publics. Public relations professionals now must communicate information in a way that is much more open and engaging due to the rapidly evolving media landscape, which is substantially more complex, diversified, and dynamic than the conventional media realm.
more than at any other time. The practitioners must recognize and comprehend the evolving needs and viewpoints of their audiences in order to effectively take use of the opportunities provided by new media platforms.
SUMMARY OF THE PROBLEM
The Internet offers public relations professionals a singular chance to gather data, track public opinion on problems, and have direct conversations with their audiences on a range of topics. (2007) McAllister & Taylor However, a lot of scholarly writing bemoans the fact that practitioners were merely adopting established methods and paradigms of public engagement.
Relationships were not adapting their approach to the online. It seems contradictory that even a traditional pillar of public relations practice like media relations is not making use of the opportunities provided by the web and social media, given that prior research suggested that public relations practitioners were open to utilizing new technology (Porter & Sallot, 2003). In light of this, the researcher plans to look at how social media has affected the field of public relations.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The study’s primary goal is to determine how social media affects public relations practice. However, in order to help the study be completed, the researcher hopes to achieve the subsequent sub-objective:
to determine the impact of social media on the public relations profession
determining the effect of social media on the expansion of the public relations industry
To assess how social media and the current public relations profession interact
To assess social media’s impact on the effectiveness of the public relations industry
1.4 HYPOTHESES FOR RESEARCH
The researcher develops the following research hypotheses in order to successfully complete the study:
H0: The use of social media does not significantly affect public relations practice
H1: The profession of public relations is significantly impacted by social media.
H02: Social media has no discernible influence on the expansion of the public relations industry.
H2: Social media does significantly affect the development of the public relations industry.
NECESSITY OF THE STUDY
As the study aims to count the impact of social media on the profession, it is anticipated that the findings would be of major value to the public relation profession and practitioners. This is because social media has
As the research aims to streamline the role of the public relations officer by listing the benefits of social media to the profession, it will be important to public relations officers in organizations. Integrate and simplify the formal character of public relations. The study will be extremely valuable to students who want to pursue similar research since the results will act as a guide for them. Finally, because the findings will contribute to the body of already published material, the study will be very important to students, instructors, and the general public.
THE STUDY’S SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
Although the study’s focus is on the impact of social media on public relations practice, there are certain issues that constrained the study’s scope;
(a) Research material accessibility: There is not enough research material available to the researcher, which restricts the investigation.
(b) Time: Because the researcher must juggle the study with other academic obligations and exams, the time allotted for the investigation does not improve wider coverage.
(c) Finance: Since the researcher has other academic expenses to pay, there aren’t enough funds available for the study project to cover a larger range of topics.
1.7 TERM DEFINITION
Social media are computer-mediated tools that make it easier to create and share content across virtual communities and networks, including information, ideas, professional interests, and other kinds of expression. There are some similar elements, however there are many stand-alone and integrated social networking systems now accessible, which makes defining difficult.
the public relations
Building constructive connections between corporations and their audiences is the goal of public relations, a strategic communication strategy. The management of communication between an organization and its publics is another definition of public relations.
The Internet is a system of worldwide linked computer networks that connects devices using the TCP/IP protocol suite. A wide range of electrical, wireless, and optical networking technologies are used to connect private, public, academic, corporate, and government networks with local to global reach.
The layout of the study To make it easier to grasp, this study project is divided into the following five chapters: The first chapter is concerned with the introduction, which includes an overview of the study, a problem statement, study objectives, a research question, the study’s importance, the research methodology, a description of key words, and the study’s historical context. The theoretical framework on which the study is based is highlighted in Chapter 2, along with a review of related literature. The third chapter covers the study’s methodology and research strategy. The gathering, processing, and presentation of data are the main topics of Chapter 4. The study’s summary, conclusion, and suggestions are presented in Chapter 5.