As a future public relations professional, I believe that social media is the future of this field. In this paper, I will define the key concepts, argue the importance of social media in my future career, discuss how greater knowledge in this area will benefit me as I enter the workplace, and finally, discuss specific courses I plan on taking to help me gain more knowledge. As social media continues to expand and its uses continue to change, so does the actual definition of social media.
On page six of a journal article, the authors say that the most practical definition for its use in public relations is hat “social media are the platforms that enable the interactive web by engaging users to participate in, comment on and create content as means of communicating with their social graph, other users and the public,” (Dodd & Campbell, 2011). There are various social media tools that professionals use within their company for different purposes. Social media tools include social networking sites like Namespace, Backbone and Linked, as well as blobs, bedposts, message boards and online videos (Taylor & Kent, 2010).
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Twitter, another social media tool, is gaining even more popularity than Backbone and blobs as time goes on. What differentiates social media tools from traditional media types is that social media technologies give anyone with access to a computer or a phone the ability to connect with a global audience at a very small cost (Wright, 2012). In essence, social media is changing the way all professionals think about their brand. Customers are beginning to expect this transparency and humanity that social media creates for a company and its brand.
So, why is social media becoming so important in public relations? Social media allows companies to extend their messages in ways they never could before, engage in two-way communication with publics and listen to what their publics want (Waters & Tindal, 2010). Social media gives public relations practitioners the ability to network, to meet new customers and to keep old customers. One of the most important reasons for social media use is for crisis communication (Bridged, 2011). Social media tools offer fast, easy and convenient ways of connecting with audiences.
If there are negative comments about a company after something bad happens that is associated with its brand, companies can detect this immediately and address the issue reactively (Wright, 2012). Social media’s importance in public relations is emphasized in various other ways. Companies use blobs to publish information that complements their press releases and presentations (Bridged, 2011 By linking blobs to other social media tools, companies can disperse information about certain products, services or upcoming events to a wide audience.
A positive mention of a company on Twitter could pull in thousands of visitors to its website. These visitors could possibly turn into customers just because of a mention or rewet. Social media also allows companies to post product/service deadlines, promotional giveaways, status updates on upcoming events, as well as links to images and videos (Dodd ; Campbell, 2011). Overall, social media helps companies to listen to what people are saying about their brand, participate in the discussions, be open to new ideas, and then use these insights to make better business decisions (Waters ; Tindal, 2010).
If public relations professionals fail to actively take advantage of these various tools, it could hurt their company in the long run. When graduate college, I hope to pursue a career in public relations with he Cleveland Indians. Learning about social media and gaining the skills in how to use it effectively will definitely benefit me as I enter the workplace. I have my own blob, am an avid tweeter, I am on Linked and I have a Backbone. By using all of these social media tools almost everyday, I am gaining the necessary knowledge that I will need in the future.
The skills of storytelling, staying relevant, knowing how to build relationships, knowing how to handle crisis communications and seeking out feedback are all skills public relations professionals should have (Taylor ; Kent, 2010). Knowing how to effectively use social media can enhance every one oftenest skills. It is very important for people in this field to understand how to deal with the paradigm shift of social media (Dodd ; Campbell, 2011). They must understand both of the threats and opportunities that come with it.
There are specific courses that I plan on taking during my time here at Kent State to help me gain more knowledge about social media and public relations. In COM 43000 (communication technology and human interaction), I plan on gaining knowledge about the newer media and how hey are used. I also want to learn how the newer media are different from and similar to face-to-face communication and traditional mass media. In COM 45006 (media use and effects), I plan on gaining more knowledge about how these newer types of media actually affect people. M probably most excited to take JACM 21008 (social media strategies). In this course, I want to gain more skills in how to strategically use social media in both my life and the workplace. I want to gain more knowledge about the different strategies one can use with social media to position and market organizations. Finally, in JACM 48002 (public relations tactics), I plan to gain more skills in how to effectively communicate with publics and the various ways in which one can do so.