Social Media Article Review

“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.

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