Social Media & Changing Relationships

At the beginning of this semester I realized that a component of just about every single one of my classes was going to be social media. It was not until recently that I have begun to realize the impact that Web 2.0 and social media has had not only on me and my education, but on the entire profession of public relations as a whole.

I recently came across a post by Bill Sledzik’s blog ToughSledding about the love-hate relationship that PR pros are facing with social media.  In it he discusses how the public has begun to take social media as the only version and are “unwilling to discuss alternative views and engage those who disagree with them.”

It is this idea that social media is the-be-all-to-end-all, that has me wondering about what other implications social media has had on the PR profession. Sledzik brings up a few good questions about the topic:

  • How will social media affect my clients’ ability to connect with their stakeholders?
  • What new skills and understanding of social media will future PR professionals need to survive?
  • What changes in communication strategy are SM bringing to the practice of public relations?
  • Are the “new influencers” we read about really as influential as some think — and how do we know?
  • How much of the PR’s social media frenzy is “real” and how much is a product of our digital echo chamber?

Although I do agree that social media has benefited public relations greatly, do you think that it has affected it in a negative way?

I believe that social media has made the entire industry less personal contact driven and more application driven. It used to be who could you call and pitch your story to. Now it has become who follows you. I do also think that social media has changed the client/stakeholder relationship, and not for the better. It has become less personal, which in the long run could be very detrimental.

How do you feel about the relationship between social media and the PR profession?

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5 Responses to Social Media & Changing Relationships

  1. mgjersvi says:

    I agree that social media has been ubiquitous this semester. This bothered me for a while, then I realized that as the next generation of PR practitioners we’re expected to get this stuff. Within a week of using Twitter for the first time my client asked my group to help him improve his tweeting skills. The fact is we have to learn how to use this new medium effectively because our future employers expect us to. On the up-side, this may be a situation where we have an edge coming into the job market.

  2. Christine says:

    I think that social media has made relationships between PR practitioners, clients and stakeholders less formal. Instead of writing formal letters or big announcements, we can publish a blog or tweet about it. I don’t really know if this is positive or negative, it just depends on your style.

  3. Nicholas Smith says:

    I also did not understand the importance of social media in the public relations industry until this semester. Once this semester started, this class and Online Media showed me that it is perhaps the most important thing a PR professional can know these days. While I personally find it very annoying to learn all of the nuances of all of these new sites, I think that they have change the industry for the better. Although they are still young and people are still trying to figure out the best way to go about using them for their advantage, social media sites allow faster, cheaper contact with a wider audience than any other media outlet would have in the past.

  4. allund says:

    I think that Dr. Gilpin has really helped show us the importance of Social Media. Not only can you receive instant feedback but you can also see what people are talking about what is important to others and float out your thoughts and what is important to you. Oh and by the way it is all for free!! Gotta love the Social Media!

  5. jejepson says:

    mgjersvi- I do agree that learning about the different social media applications this semester will give us an edge when it comes time to apply for jobs. Understanding and being able to effectively utilize them is something that we must be able to do.

    Christine- It does depend on someone’s particular style, but also what would be best for the client and most effective.

    Nicholas Smith- I do agree that it will be some time before a general consensus has been reached on the best, most effective way to utilize social media applications. Until then, I believe, this changing relationship will be difficult to adapt to.

    allund- I do like that social media is all free. I believe that if the majority of it was not free, that many people and organizations would not use it. It would significantly reduce the number of “eyeballs” that saw the information.

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