INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON PUBLIC RELATIONS IN UNIVERSITY

ABSTRACT: The study investigated the influence of social media on public relations with a focus on Bowen University Public Relations Unit. The research was anchored on Technology Determinism Theory and Four Models of Public Relations by Grunig and Hunt. A Survey research as a quantitative research method was adopted while questionnaire to select respondents within the PRs Unit of Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics (frequency and percentage)  with the aids of SPSS version 23. The study finds out that Bowen University Public Relations Unit is using social media to some extent particularly Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter.  It was also observed that Bowen University’s last update was in 2014 which shows that Bowen Public Relations Unit are not effective in the use of social media for social intereaction between and among its various publics as expected. It is recommended that the public relations unit of Bowen University should pay serious attention to the online presence because out of the about 7.4 million world population over 4.2 billion people are online according to CiCso.  It also want public relations to keep eyes on the school activities online, update its pages as appropriate and check those who might be using their fake social media page to defraud innocent people.


 CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

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 of others.

            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 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.

            Advancement in modern technology has revolutionized all facets of communication during the past decades. Access to the people and information practically anywhere and anytime in the world has been quicker, cheaper and easier.

            Awake (2002) cited in Kur (2004), 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.

            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.

  • 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 BOWEN and send “you have won a scholarship quickly pay 10,000 to double your scholarship up to Masters: 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.

  • Objectives of the Study
  1. To examine whether Bowen University use social media in communication and sharing of ideas and concepts.
  2. To ascertain whether social media has enhanced the performance of public relations department of Bowen University
  • Research Questions
  1. Does Bowen University use social media in communication and sharing of ideas and      concepts?
  2. Have social media enhanced the performance of public relations department of Bowen     University?

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 Bowen University especially public relations and customer care departments. However, demography of the respondents within Bowen University 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       Limitation of the Study

            Although, it is too earlier to start pointing at limitations, nevertheless, some limitations are visible at the outset of this research.  First, the research is limited to Bowen University  and its publics. Duration for the research work is relatively short compared to tasks involved in carrying out this research as there are other stresses emanating from other academic activities.

            Little materials are also available due to the fact that the topic is relatively new because previous researchers have focuses on mass media and not social media aspect of public relations practice. 

1.8       Operational definition of the Terms

Public Relations: This refers to as various efforts to deliberate planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understandings between Bowen University and all its publics 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.

 

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