This is the phrase which comes to mind when I think of getting the word out about the latest news. Extra! Extra! Read All About It!! Read…in the newspaper I presume…ancient history….ancient history! All that’s changed now…especially in this new age of technology. Social media and blogging have become the new form of communication for “getting the word out” to the masses. If you didn’t believe me then this week’s article titled, “How Blogs and Social Media are Changing Public Relations and the Way it is Practiced”, by Wright and Hinson proves it.
1. This article reports on a three year study the authors conducted to find out what the impact of blogging and social media has on public relations practices. Since they had done this study 2 years in a row, they used some of the same questions asked in previous years and compared them to previous responses. “The results indicated that blogs and social media have enhances what happens in public relations and that social media and traditional mainstream media complement each other” (Wright & Hinson, p. 1). The overall response of this study as with the 2 previous years is that social media and blogging is moving public relations in the direction of greater two way communication. The communication between the public and organizations is growing rapidly.
I think that social media and blogging do in fact enhance the traditional forms of communications. For example, when you watch the news or even a daily talk show, you can always go to their website, or Facebook page at a later date to review what you heard and saw.
2. & 3. Three key ideas that stand out in this article are:
A) Blogging and social media are giving companies and organizations a low cost or even free way to communicate without spending millions of dollars on advertising. But even this money saving method of communication is still not being used by large numbers of public relations departments in companies. “Although communicating via the Web usually is free–as opposed to purchasing space through traditional advertising-only a small number of public relations practitioners are effectively using blogs and other social media when community with their strategic publics” (Wright & Hinson, Pg. 1).
B). This form of communication has the potential to change the face of businesses and organization just because of the nature if. It’s faster and brings the potential for a quicker response from those who receive the information. “We found the phenomenon of blogging and other aspects of the social media have the potential to bring dramatic changes to many aspects of public relations” (Wright & Hinson, pg 1). Blogging and social media have helped many organizations move toward digital communication to enhance what they do.
I also found it interesting that the study found both people who get their information from blogs and social media and those who rely on old forms of communication expect it to be honest and truthful. So it doesn’t matter how info is obtained, the public is still expecting it to be correct and authentic. Even in this age of fast paces technology, correct information should be given to the public.
C). Social media and blogging have changed the rules of communicating pertinent information to the public. The authors reference David Meerman Scott who calls them “old and new rules of the press release” (pg. 2) He says these rule changes are important because they enable greater exposure of information. The old press release was only viewed by certain people. Now days a blog or Facebook post has the potential to be viewed by hundreds, thousands, even millions of people at once. Scott (2007 & 2008) says “Nobody actually saw the old press release except a few reporters and editors, and the only way members of the general public would learn about the content of a press release was if the media wrote or broadcast a story about it” (pg 2). The faster the information get out to the public the better it is for the company. The greater their potential to make more money. On the other hand if it is something negative, like the Tylenol scare, getting the news out faster may not be particularly great for the company although the information is beneficial to the public.
4. The most difficult or challenging concept from this reading for me would be the fact that companies are still dealing with the issues of whether to let their employees blog on company time about the company itself. I find it hard to believe that this would be an issue since in my view, it is considered work related. As the authors state, “According to a Backbone Media (2005) survey the top five reasons why employees have created web blogs are to publish content and ideas, build communities, promote thought leadership, get information to customers , and get feedback from customers” (Wright & Hinson, pg 4). All of these reasons relate to enhancing the company itself, so I find it kind of hard to understand why this in an issue.
The only reason I can see that this would be justified is as the article also talks about the potential for abuse of the blogging priviledge. They fear that the employee will say something negative about the company or give out top secret information. “Even though some organizations encourage employee blogging, many organizations do not because they fear employees might misuse employee blogs and either communicate negative information about the company or exchange confidential information” (Wright & Hinson, pg 5).
5. Discussion Questions for this article would be:
A) Since social media and blogging is free which saves money, how can companies who are not using social media and blogging incorporate it into the scope of their business?
B) How can companies ensure that the information being published through their social media and blogging sites is true and authentic?
C) When there is negative information to publish, how can companies go about getting the word out through social media and blogging so that it does not hurt their image, or is it possible to save once negative things get out?
6. This weeks reading relates to the changes my church is currently going through. In an effort to “go green” we have phased out some of the traditional forms of communication we used to use such as a weekly bulletin or program. Instead, we now have website full of information about our church and everything going on there. We are also able to pay our tithes and offering online if we are unable to make it to church. the church also has a Facebook page and several of our ministries have pages also. I think this is good because all the information and announcements are posted there so it can be referred back to later. Any new information is posted and it can be viewed right away instead of waiting until Sunday, thanks to our administrative office staff.
Although the use of the internet and social media are helping us go green by replacing the traditional printed paper bulletin this shift is not as welcomed by those members who don’t use the internet or social media. This has made it necessary to continue the use of flyers and other paper advertisements for events and information relating to the church.