The impact of new media on public relations Every once in a long while, the way that people receive and distribute news is majorly impacted by times and technology. The 20th century brought TV, radio, and the Internet. Just as these media channels defined their times, so the rise of new media will also define the 21st century. In modern society, all public relation practitioners are confronted with a startling series of new communications channels and struggle with the impact of new media. The “new media” gives rise to a new style of marketing that is characterized by conversation and community.
Internet-based social media tools include blogs (WordPress www. wordpress. com), podcasts, online video (YouTube) and social networks like facebook (www. facebook. com) which is the most widely used, free-access social networking sites and now has 400 million users worldwide – and MySpace (www. myspace. com) which has about 200 million users. The Internet affords a particular chance for public relation practitioners to gain information, monitor the publics’ opinion, and directly enter into dialogue with the public about various issues.
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This indicates that public relation practitioners need to realize the importance of the mainstream, new media in the dissemination of information. This essay aims to draw attention to the rising influence of new media on the process of public relations, and to discuss what extent the media influences the publis. The following will be divided into three parts, the first discusses what “new media” is, and how it differs from traditional media. The second part focuses on new media’s impact on current conventional thinking in public relations.
Finally, it will briefly introduce how new media affects the public. Reading many books on literature, we can conclude there is no single accurate definition to describe what new media is, because the definition changes every few years. One book on new media is used in a very general way, it combines some traditional media with new media, for example movies, pictures and written language, with interactive computer and communication technology, some consumer devices using computer, and concluding that the Internet is the most important communication vehicle.
There are many promises linked to these terms. For instance, people can access information at any location or time by using electronic devices, along with exchange of consumers feedback, and create and engage in the forming process of a community centered on the media content. Another pivotal promise is that of the creation of a democratitive space where people can freely create, publish, distribute and consume media content. New media distinguishes from traditional media for the digitizing of content rather than keeping it analogue.
There is also a dynamic factor in the content production, which can be done in real time. (Wikipedia, 2010) Another definition emphasized new media to be focused on a train of media practices, and takes advantage of digital technologies and the computer in one way or another. (Dewdney & Ride, 2006) By these two different definitions, we can surmise that new media is not just a kind of technology used in our daily life, but can also change the way of today’s PR practice ways. What are the fundamental differences that warrant such distinction? here are four to be aware of, the most significant difference in new media is that it is dynamic and can be changed, for example Facebook, MicroBlog (Twitter) and web sites can be updated rapidly when events happen or unfold. A good example is that today, more and more companies use micro-blogging to establish awareness and expertise for a company, they present their company logo and branding in the micro-blog page and use micro-blog updates to customer service, and even add value by using micro-blogs to post on events in the community and their company topics as well. Baruch New Media, 2009)By contrast, traditional media is delayed while reporting on same issue. Another difference is that traditional media forms are single, like newspapers, magazines or television, all of these channels are used independently. Whereas new media can be combinations of several forms, such as it can contain words, audio, video, or graphics together, to express one event. Hence, when expressing an issue, new media presents a better way. The third difference is that traditional media only broadcasts a message. New Media brings people into a conversation.
More specifically, new media is an “open” communication, it permits all people to respond and interact with material directly. New media also gives people real power to create, express, even produce their own ideas. For example, a sightseer or a reader can leave their comments on your blog. Nevertheless, traditional media is controlled by the content producer, and not convenient for people to voice their own opinions and ideas. Traditional media revolves around the “information producer”, and how or what it says. New media is more friendly, more humane, and more people centered, than traditional media.
The final difference is about manipulating information. It’s very hard to efficiently extract and process data which has a large amount of information through using newspapers, magazines or other traditional media. There is a huge difference here, such as in our daily life, we can get news on the Internet in the morning, which is the same news you can from TV in the afternoon or evening and can read it in the newspaper tomorrow. Although there may be striking differences between the two forms of media, ultimately, we must recognize that both have the same destination.
The emergence of new media has not changed the content of the demand itself, but changed the content of the form and means of communication, the contents serve as a common within traditional media and new media. Secondly, traditional media depends on new technologies to expand distribution channels for new content development. Thirdly, the integration of new media is the current trend, multi-media is becoming increasingly popular. After defining and comparing new media and traditional media, the following key content is about how new media influences public relations. Throughout the public, the impact of media is apparent.
First and foremost, new media is changing models of communication. Change is inherent to advancing a field of study. Original public relations models can no longer adequately describe the relationship between organizations and stakeholders. Grung’s once common four models of public relations (press agency, public information, one-way asymmetrical and two-way symmetrical) has not been used in modern society. The internet has had an impact, on everything public relations practioners do, from the research phase and monitoring of brand communication, to the way you reach out to people in their web communities nd use new media tools to create compelling information. The internet enables people to extend their communications in ways never before imagined and to connect with groups you probably never thought you could reach. All traditional communication such as one-way, two-way and multi-directional has been replaced by point to point, point to multi-point, point to server narrowcast and point to server broadcast. In addition, traditional communication’s characteristics emphasise on the sender and existence of a communication gatekeeper.. The new media however gives people direct access to information.
For instance, some social networks like facebook and myspace are giving voice to the opinions of millions of consumers. Secondly, new media supplies public relation practitioners a unique opportunity to collect and deliver information, monitor public opinion on issues, and engage in direct dialogue with their public about a variety of issues. (McAllister & Taylor, 2007) Due to the Internet being the only truly free and autonomous medium which allows anyone to express their own ideas and their objections, public relations practitioners can get honest feedback easily from web social networks.
They also can send news and information via these new media. For example, when public relation practitioners want to send information to customers they can use Internet and Email, which can help them transmit messages more quickly. In the late 1990s, a consumer web site was instrumental in aiding Ford to recall hundreds of thousands cars and trucks whose ignition switches could cause a fire in the vehicle. In addition, new media tools should be carefully managed, and information that is sent should be clear and accurate.
If messages that are not clear to understand are sent, some people could misunderstand and disseminate the wrong information quickly to others. This indicates the most important characteristic of new media is interactivity, and in todays society information can be delivered to the public at lightning speeds. Therefore, Internet PR has two elements. The first is in seeking, learning and applying the best practice of the day and the second is constant re-evaluation, re-learning, and evolving offline and online practice. Finally, new media brings more challenges to public relation practitioners.
The new media brings good news to young aspirants in the field of public relations. It represents a new niche in the PR practitioners market, and the challenge is that current practitioners have to understand new media’s potential, and use these new avenues constantly or integrate them in a business strategy, and give them legitimacy in front of those in charge. It can give people more channels to receive messages. If a crisis were to effect an organization, consumers now expect instant updates in their inboxes. However, sometimes the organization does not want to publish this information.
So public relations practitioners may be under more pressure to produce this instant content, and cannot ignore the importance of the valuable tools social media gives them access to. Generally speaking, the Internet is the only truly free medium that allows anyone to articulate their needs and express their objections. New media is influencing nearly all spheres of human activity – changing work relations, communication processes, forms of relationships between people, ways of spending free time and even spirituality. Thus far we have considered new media as it involves public relations in many directions.
As part of that discussion, we have noted that new media also has several effects on the public. Firstly, new media provides more extensive channels to acquire information. In the new media world, people have the option of autonomy – they can find almost anything what they are interested in. When they search for a subject, they will meet the target information displayed in many different ways, be it is someone’s blog, a person’s question, or many others. In other words, Internet allows us to choose information delivers it to us according in a method we prefer..
Users can choose what information they want to receive and where they will accept it from. Moreover, they can distribute information to any other cyber citizen all around world. Another key advantage is people through web sites (Facebook, Blog, ect) can reflect what they are interested in, what their lifestyles involve and what are they concerned about. Furthermore, they can discuss popular topics and find friends who have common tastes among this global audience. (Phillips, 2001, P. 9) We can also observe that new media influence public opinion.
Marshall McLuhan (1967, P. 305) said an important theory “the medium is the message” as a means of explaining where the message appears, or how the messages is to be distributed, is more important than the message itself. (Gorchels,West, 2004). We know the new media has a strong social and cultural impact upon today’s society. YouTube shows thousands of videos everyday, people can not only find video content seen in TV and films but also could post their own video clips, and share thoughts and views with all other cyber citizens.
Due to some videos attracting a huge audience, corporations make use of them as a pervasive viral marketing tool for their interests, all of this indicates that new media provides virtually limitless space to people. (PRSA, 2009) All in all, new media can impact public behaviours and attitudes. As a whole, new media is obviously changing the way we think about public relations, but as even more PR companies adopt new media, they are still struggling to find effective metrics for deciding how to combine new media and public relations in a better way.
Therefore this paper concludes that new media provides a timely opportunity for rethinking approaches to the currently practiced way of core public relations. We have tried to demonstrate how new media has been used to create both positive and negative outcomes for public relations. Coombs & Holladay (2007, p. 126) states that new media is much like the law, sometimes it will be used to hurt, and others it will be used to benefit society. It is misleading to assume that new media is inherently good or inherently bad. Ultimately, new media is as good as the people that employ it.
Coombs & Holladay (2007, p. 126) state that no matter whether we adopt new media, public relation practitioners will continue attempts to manage mutual influence. New media provides valuable societal benefits to public relations, although sometimes these are not perfect. We have seen a variety of approaches to incorporating social media into the PR mix, from both clients and peers, which is sufficient to demonstrate that new media is a natural, and necessary function in public relations. What is important to understand is the approach to make new media and public relations mutually interact.
In order to perform well, a public relations practitioner needs a sense of order to effectively handle its network of new media. By understanding how public relations work, we are better able to resist those efforts when need be and use those same tactics to improve the quality of life for ourselves and others. (Coombs & Holladay, 2007, p. 126). Reference Breakenridge, D. (2008). PR 2. 0: new media, new tools, new audiences,1. ed. USA: FT Press Bennett, W. L. ,and Paletz, D. L. (eds). (1994). Taken by Storm: The Media, Public Opinion, and U.
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