Archive for October 2008

Social Media Article Review

October 23, 2008

“How Blogs and Social Media are Changing Public Relations and the Way it is Practiced”

The article I chose to read was about the way in which we communicate socially and professionally is changing drastically in recent years and new social media is becoming more popular with individuals. One important type of social media is blogs which are “easily published, personal web sites that serve as sources of commentary, opinion and uncensored, unfiltered sources of information on a variety of topics” (Wright & Hinson, 2008, p. 3). Blogs are just one distinct type of social media that is widely used within the professional world, especially in public relations. Wright & Hinson (2008) conducted research for a three year long period to review the influence social media had on the area of study within public relations. “The phenomenon of blogging and other aspects of social media have the potential to bring dramatic changes to many aspects of public relations,” (Wright & Hinson, 2008, p.1).

I learned a lot about the new social media by reading this article. I found out how much the new media is changing public relations and the way that it is practiced. Wright & Hinson (2008) discuss how new technologies are differing the way public relations practitioners are communicating with “strategic publics such as employees, customers, stockholders, communities, governments, and other stakeholders” (p. 2). Within the career of public relations reaching your desired publics is the most important aspect of your job. Embracing the new forms of social media can aid public relations professionals and help reach target publics more efficiently.

One aspect of this article that surprised me was that the results ranging from three years apart differed significantly. I enjoyed reading on how public relations professional’s opinions about the social media and blogging have altered over the years. I believe that the social media has become more influential in the last three years and this study proves this to be true. I was surprised in how much the opinion of public relations practitioners had changed since the first survey. “More than half of the study’s respondents (61%) believe the emergence of blogs and social media have changed the way their organizations communicate” (Wright & Hinson 2008, p. 18). This showed me that in the short period of time of three years, the many individuals opinions changed.

After reading this article about social media in public relations, I have a desire to read more information about this topic. I am interested to find out which companies are embracing these types of new social media and which companies are sticking to the old styles. I would also enjoy reading more information next year on the same study to find out how much the social media will change in the area of public relations between 2008 and 2009. The entire area of social media is fascinating to me and how this aids public relations practitioners is even more exciting to read about.

The information found in the article about social media and blogging will help me while doing research for my final project on Starbucks. While doing some initial research about Starbucks, I found how they use the new social media in many aspects. Starbucks has their own Twitter account where they can engage in conversations directly with their customers, stockholders, and employees. Also, Starbucks has developed a website where individuals can input their personal ideas about the company; for example, an idea for a new flavor of coffee. This is a way that Starbucks has engaged in new social media by directly talking with their customers and taking their opinions and ideas into consideration. Also, on this website, there is a blog section where actual Starbucks employees’ blog about which ideas researchers are looking into and what will happen once these are implemented.

Another example in which Starbucks has engaged in new social media is creating an on-line community for their customers called Starbucks V2V. On this website, consumers have the opportunity to sign up, meet customers in their area, and participate in activities to better their community. This aspect of new social media is uniting their customers and helping their local communities at the same time. This is how Starbucks is embracing these new media changes in public relations.

Wright, D. K., & Hinson, M. D. (2008). How blogs and social media are changing public relations and the way it is practiced. Public Relations Journal, 2, 1-21.


The Presidential Debate

October 8, 2008

Tonight I am currently watching the debate between both of our presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. I am so excited about this election because this is the first time I am going to vote. Because I am voting in this election, I am very concerned with making an educated decision. I do not want to chose one candidate because my friends or family are voting for them. I want to know a decent amount of information about both people and their policies before I make my decision.
While watching this debate, I found it very interesting how relaxed the environment was. Both Barack and McCain were standing up and walking around while answering the questions. While seeing this, it made me feel like both of these men are more of “real” people. I suppose when viewing them behind a podium, it seems as though they are guarded.  Also, within this debate, it is not very structured. At one point during this debate, McCain asked for more time to answer a rebuttal from Obama and the commentator replied with acceptance to this question. This surprised me because I did not realize that the relationship between the candidates and the commentator was so relaxed. Overall, I was surprised but glad that the structure and position of both candidates were very laid back because I am a young voter and this set-up made me feel more comfortable.
I was very happy with the way that Obama addressed all of his questions tonight. He was very straight forward. I think his appeal to younger voters is obvious. His policies and view are very similar to mine and the way in which he addressed controversial issues influenced and backed up my decision to vote for his in this election. Although, I will continue to watch the other debates and also read more information on BOTH candidates before I make my final decision.