While not exactly a new concept, the internet has not been available for the mass market for the longest time, coming up somewhere in the 90’s; myself, I didn’t have real access to the internet beyond school until 2005 during the end of my sophomore year in high school. It was then where I discovered social media, like Myspace and Aol chat. During those days, we were more concerned with chatting with people, editing our profiles, and arranging our top friends. It was soon after I discovered Facebook; little did I know it would take the world by storm. To be perfectly honest, it was quite dull and while it was fun to poke friends and join dumb groups, there really wasn’t much to offer for a band geek in high school. It wasn’t until four or five years later when it’s true potential began to be tapped. Today, social media has grown into an interactive empire, ranging from Facebook to Twitter and so much more; even Myspace still exists, though it isn’t what it used to be. The most significant thing about social media’s rise though is how much certain industries and corporations have embraced it, with public relations being on the forefront.
In piece conducted by Cision, they mentioned 6 ways that social media has changed public relations, which include the fact public relations has fully integrated with it, there is user co-creation with public relation messages , allowing messages to reach bigger audiences, it forces public relations workers to be more vigilant due to the constantly changing nature of social media, you can now work more with hyper-localizing your message, it is now much easier to build relationships with journalists, giving them unprecedented access and insight and the fact we now have the reality of “citizen journalists” or bloggers, (like many of you on here) that can be used as great sources of information. (Dougherty, 2014) From someone who grew up watching all of this unfold, all of this resonates within my thought process and it still amazes me to this day that something I signed up for almost 12 years ago is now a global empire. Someone give me a time machine so I can tell my parents to invest or something.
In an article written Melanie James, PhD of the University of Newcastle, Australia, she mentions and references how many people aren’t embracing new technology and that many public relations practitioners are falling behind the times in this area. Anyone with access to the internet can publish these days, so people working in the field of public relations really need to focus on getting better in this area. (James, 2014)
Just to reemphasize the importance of embracing social media in the field of public relations, another article I found gives five more reasons social media has changed public relations, including the fact it has encouraged a customer focus, it has helped fueled and create the 24/7 news cycle, public relations services are now affordable to small businesses, the concept of social actually led to integrated public relations and most importantly, it has led to a greater engagement with the customer base, which is what public relations is kind of about when you get down to it, aside from making your client look good of course.
So as you have seen from my short blog post, the rise of social media has fundamentally changed how public relations is conducted.
Dougherty, J. (2015, July 15). 6 Ways Social Media Has Changed Public Relations. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from http://www.cision.com/us/2014/09/6-ways-social-media-changed-public-relations/
James, M. (2014). A review of the impact of new media on public relations: Challenges for terrain, practice and education. A review of the impact of new media on public relations: Challenges for terrain, practice and education. doi:10.5176/2251-2195_cseit15.30
5 Ways Social Media has Changed Public Relations – 5WPR. (2016, November 08). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from http://www.5wpr.com/new/social-media-public-relations/