ABSTRACT: The research examined the Influence of Social Media on Public Relations in an Organisation with a case study of Global Communication Limited (GLO). The study was anchored on Technological Determinism Theory. A survey research method was adopted while a questionnaire was employed to elicit responses from respondents. The data collected were analyzed in frequency and percentage method. The study finds out that social media has enhanced public relations practice in so many ways such as effective sharing of information, speed delivery of messages, effective feedback and interaction. The study recommended that public relations should use social media with caution and monitor their Companies social media pages in order to be able to quickly spot those who use their social media page to dupe or do illegal activities on social media.
1.1 Background to the Study
Communication is a basic human need and for that reason, man has always found a means of satisfying this need. It is believed that no human society can function effectively if there is no exchange of ideas, experiences, etc between and among the people within the society since no man can live in isolation from others (Olayinka, 2015).
The earliest forms of trado-media, interpersonal and group forms of communication had the benefit of being easy to use and did not necessarily need complex technologies. The weaknesses of not being able to communicate to a large audience led to the development of mass media such as telegraph, newspapers, magazines, radio and television and to the recent Internet/ICT/ which has helped in broadening the scope of digital public relations (Olayinka, 2015).
Advancement in modern technology has revolutionized all facets of communication during the past decades. Access to people and information practically anywhere and anytime in the world has been quicker, cheaper and easier.
Kur (2004) in Awake magazine (2002) posits that the dynamic nature of the 2ls century and more centuries to come rest on technological revolution. No wonder, Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian English Professor in 1964 propounded the concept of “Global Village” regarding the entire globe as having the potentials of becoming a “global community” where information and news about anything and anywhere in the world would be readily available for anyone’s consumption in any part of the world and without mincing word, the impact of International Network (Internet) in achieving this feat cannot be underestimated.
This new technology has compressed the whole world into a single electronic to where information about far and near can be exchanged and shared with just a click of mouse or touch of screen (Olorede, 2011).
Adepoju et. al (2009). Observe that internet being the host of many other media tagged socio-media like: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Ebay, Ebuddy, Eskimi, 2go, e.t.c making information distribution faster, cheaper and easier especially for public relations practitionals whose job is to build, maintain and polish the image and interity of company.
Public relations use social media to share organisations view, opinions, e-releases, seek the opinion of publics, make feedback easier and faster i.e it enhanced effective two ways communication.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Due to the rise in social media use among consumers around the world, there as been an increase in the use of social media as tactics for many public relations practitioners to track their consumers and relate with them.
Because we are in the era of consumer satisification due to heavy competition. The major concern of this research is to ascertain how social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram e.t.c has influenced the practice of public relations especially in creating and maintain mutual understanding for better interaction within internal and external publics.
Also, imitation of web pages and sharing of fake or untrue information to consumers by fraudster is another challenge identified imaging somebody imitate or design a facebook official page of Dangote and send “you have won tone of cement in our company quickly pay 10,000 to double your tones: this offer is available only today and tomorrow”. This brings setback on the extent to which social media can be use as PRs tools.
Although others have examined some part of the contribution of new communication media to the practice of public relations, there are fewer studies looking at how public relations practitioners actually are using these new media.
To this end, the research examing the influence of social media on the practice of public relations especially in a telecommunication organisation.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- To examine whether Glo uses social media in communication and sharing of ideas and concepts.
- To find out the extent to which social media have helped Glo in solving problems and complaints from its various publics.
- To ascertain whether social media has enhanced the performance of public relations department of Glo.
- To highlight the strength and weaknesses of socio-media as public relations tools.
1.4 Research Questions
- Does Glo use social media in communication and sharing of ideas and concepts?
- To what extent have social media helped Glo in solving problems and complaints from its various publics
- Have social media enhanced the performance of public relations department of Glo?
- What are the strength and weakness of socio-media as public relations tools?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research which is relatively new to the field of mass communication and public relations, yet only few people ever written on social media and its contribution to public relations profession or practice.
Therefore, being a new research, it will benefit individual, corporate bodies, government, researchers, students, media professionals and host of others
The study is to reveal how socio-media can be translated into powerful tools in the hand of innovated and creative public relations especially in building public confidence and effective interaction.
Individuals will benefit from this study as they will know the best way to use and react to social media messages and information.
Future researchers who may what to carry out research in this area or related aspect will find this material useful, while it forms bulk of academic materials.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This research focuses on the effect of social-media on the practices of public relations with a reference to the global communication Nigeria especially public relations and customer care departments. However, demography of the respondents within GLO will be examined before the administration of data collection instrument (questionnaire) such factor include but not limited to age, sex, education, work experience, etc.
1.7 Operational definition of the Terms
Publics: these are the glo internal public and extental public usually the subscribers, staff, government, hosting community, etc whose activities influence global communication.
Public Relations: This refers to as various efforts to deliberate planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understandings between Glo and all its subscribers, government, staff etc
Relations: The way in which glo deals with all its publics, including staffs, subscribers etc.
Social Media: A group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content such as facebook, twitter, instagram etc