How Blogs and Social Media are Changing Public Relations and Way it is practiced
1. Wright and Hinson third annual research study and following article attempts to explore the changing world of public relations as a response to changing technological advancements including weblogs that are driving their field. According to their research as of 2007 there were more than 100,000 new blogs created everyday, the next important step would be to figure out how advertisers and companies can use these blogs to help generate interest for their product or idea. Their previous research found that despite the huge potential and benefit of blogging; including instant feedback, 24/7 nature of blogging, and the ability to bypass traditional news media, few companies are embracing the idea. This may largely be due to the employers concerns about their ability to control what their employees are saying.
2/3. It is obvious from Wright and Hinson’s three years of research that blogging is a forest fire trend, and millions of people like the idea of having a free forum for which to publicly display their opinions. “Weblogs are unique in that only a weblog gives you a publication where your ideas can stand alone without interference. It gives the public writer a kind of relaxation not available in other forms.” (Wright, Hinson, 2008, pg. 3). Weblogs are changing the nature of public relations and the way companies choose to embrace this new technology will help determine their stability in the future. The main concern however seems to be how companies can control what their employees are saying on their blogs. “According to the Ragan Report (November 14, 2005) although employee blogs currently are a big phenomenon, many who work in employee communications do not like the idea of their employees blogging because the company is not able to control their messages.” (Wright, Hinson, 2008, pg. 5). A third key point presented in the article was how blogs have changed traditional communication, “In 2007, we also examined the impact blogs and other forms of social media were having on the science that is the communication process. We suggested results of our 2006 and 2007 studies enhanced the appropriateness of Lasswell’s paradigm asking “Who says What to Whom through which Channel with what Effect.” We also said blogs and other social media were in the process of impacting the state of several traditional communication models and theories especially two-step flow theory, the conceptual model, agenda setting theory, spiral of silence theory and excellence theory.” (Wright, Hinson, 2008, pg. 7).
4. The most difficult concept for me to understand in this weeks reading, aside from the complicated research methods, was the idea that not many companies are embracing the blog as a useful tool for generating “word-of-mouse” Companies like Dunkin-Doughnuts responded to a blog called “IhateDunkin-Doughnuts.com” where people complained about lack of options for their coffee, and food. As a result the whole company was restructured and now you can have as many options for your coffee as you please.
5. This article and its research were conducted four years ago, how has the nature of blogging in the workforce changed in the last four years?
Has the number of blogs continued to rise, or has social media websites like Facebook curved their use?
How reliable are third-party blogs, and how can companies curve negative blogs from affecting their overall profit?
6. Our next assignment is digital storytelling with movie images and sound. Blogging could be my topic for discussion as it is an integral part of digital media. Another option would be to use blogging for research for whatever topic I choose. I could also use it for the final presentation, however I don’t know what that assignment will be. I know we use blogs constantly in this class. Look at this assignment, I am currently blogging, so clearly it is impossible to not blog in my assignments for this course.