I think it’s safe to say social media has started a communication revolution. Mass media, such as television, radio and newspaper, were the main lines of communication among the public, government and communicators, including public relations professionals and journalists. With the creation of the World Wide Web, e-mail emerged as one of the leading forms of communication. Not long after, social media appeared on the scene and has since revolutionized the way public relations professionals operate on a daily basis. Management of and participation in social media is an integral part of public relations practitioners’ job description and responsibilities. Social media now includes means of communication such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, networking sites, webcasts and video hosting sites, including websites like:
Take a look at just a few of the staggering statistics about social media:
Social media means that public relations professionals need to listen now more than ever. What their audiences are saying on social networking sites can help them tailor their practices according to their constituents’ wants and needs. Other advantages of social media include:
- capability to reach niche audiences
- can easily be updated
- 24/7 access
Social media has also become another way for journalists and public relations practitioners to communicate with each other, and gather story ideas and details. It requires transparency, though, on public relations professionals’ behalf, especially in the midst of a crisis, to avoid media blunders like Progressive, Susan G. Komen and McDonald’s experienced.
I don’t think the mass media will become obsolete, but that social media will play a bigger and bigger role on the Web and in public relations (especially since many social media outlets are available in mobile form).
See the following posts that were previously featured on my blog for more on social media:
- “Social Media, Friend or Foe?”
- “Viral Videos: Videos You Just Can’t Help But Watch”
- “Pinterest: What’s in it for Businesses”
- “Social Media Monitoring: Ethical or Not?”
What do you think is the future of social media? I’d love to hear your thoughts.