INCREASING USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AMONG PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTITIONERS

ABSTRACT: The study examined the increasing use of social media among public relations practitioners. The study noted that the use of social media has increased among consumers around the world, causing an increase in the use of social media as strategy of sharing information and interactions among many public relations professional. The study was anchored on Grunig and Hunt Public Relations Model and Technology Determinism. Survey research method while questionnaire was adopted as data collection instrument to elicit response from respondents within NIPR in Lagos. The study employed simple random sampling technique within the NIPR Lagos. The data collected were analysed and interpreted using descriptive statistics (frequency and percentage). The research showed that public relations practitioners feel that social media and traditional media work together more than against each other and they interchangeably influence one another. Social media are effective tools for communicating and redistributing news from traditional media sources. Also, time spent using social media is very minimal. It was recommended that social media or new media should form part of curriculum for undergraduates in mass communication and public relations in particular this will equip them for digital practice.


SOCIAL MEDIA AMONG PUBLIC RELATIONS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page                                                                                                                   

Certification                                                                                                               

Dedication                                                                                                                 

Acknowledgement                                                                                                     

Table of Contents                                                                                                      

Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study

1.2       Statement of Problem

1.3       Objectives of the Study

1.4       Research Questions

1.5       Significance of the Study

1.6       Scope of the Study

1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1       Conceptual Review

2.1.1    Definitions of Public Relations

2.1.1.1 History of Public Relations

2.1.2    Goals of Public Relations

2.1.3    Functions of Public Relations

2.1.4    Tools of Public Relations for Communication

2.1.5    Public Relations Role in a Manufacturing Organization

2.1.6    Concept of ICTs/ New Media

2.1.7    Concept of ICTs/ New Media

2.1.8    Concept of Social Media

2.1.9    Characteristics of Internet/ Social Media

2.1.10  Differences between Social Media and Traditional Media

2.1.11  Reason for the Increasing of Social Media among Public Relations Practitioners

2.1.12  Popular Social Media and Rank

2.1.13.1Public Relations Tools and Media

2.1.14  Why Social Media is adopted by Public Relations

2.1.15  How Social Media are impacting the Public Relations Practice

2.1.16  How Public Relations Practitioners are Actually Using Social Media

2.1.17 Some Ways Public Relations Professionals Use Social Media

2.2       Theoretical Framework

2.2.1    Model of Public Relations and Application in Public Relations

2.2.2    Technological Determinism Theory and Application in Public Relations

            References

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1       Research design:

3.2       Population:

3.3       Sampling technique and procedure:

3.4       Sampling size:

3.5       Data Collection Instrument:

3.6       Pilot study:

3.7       Validity and Reliablity:

3.8       Administration of data collection instrument:

3.9       Rate of Return of Questionnaire

3.10     Data analysis:

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION

4.0       Introduction

4.1       Data Analysis: Demographic Variables

4.2       Data Analysis: Research Questions and Related

4.3       Discussion of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1       Summary

5.2       Conclusion

5.3       Recommendations

            REFERENCES

            Appendix


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND OF 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 community since no man can live in isolation of others. Community can be a big city, village or an organisation.

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, these were used by the public relations practitioners at one time of development or the other. 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/social media or better called new media which has helped in broadening the scope of public relations communication and interaction than even before (Olayinka, 2016).

Public relations is describe as a deliberate planned and sustained efforts to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation and it publics (Arowosegbe, 2005).

It means that an organisation, individual or institution has so many publics that it deals with at one time or the other and this publics can be reached through different platforms depend on the issue, problem or condition necessitate the communication or interaction.

However, one of the emerging media or channels of communication in public relations is the use of the internet particularly the new media (social media, podcast, streaming, video conferencing, e-releases etc)

Kur (2004) in (Awake, 2002) posits that the dynamic nature of the 2lst century and more centuries to come rest on technological revolution.

Improvement in modern technology has transformed the world into a global village (Marshal McLuhan, 1964). This new technological device 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 the mouse.

Internet being the host of many other media tagged social media such as Facebook, 2go, Whatsapp, instagram, youtube, Twitter, linkedIn etc. make information dissemination faster, cheaper and easier. The advent of this information and communication technology has affected the usual shape of every human activity ranging, from education, agriculture, business, mass communication and to the practice of public relations or public communication among others.

However, the practice of Public Relations is not exceptional as social media or new media. ICT has influenced the public relations practice in this century. Ike Nwosu (2007:55) described internet and information technology thus:

      ‘Imagine a room filled with many spiders, each spinning its own webs. The webs are so interconnected that the spider can travel freely within the maze’.

Information and communication technology extends to a range of technological application such as computer software and hardware, GSM, Smartphones, the internet and other electronic information resources like the World Wide Web, emails, podcast, webcast, CD ROMs among others.

Today, organizations and clients are making greater demand on public relations professionals that are more ICT oriented, creative and innovative. It is not an overstatement to say that Public relations now use social media to share organisation’s view, opinions, e-releases, seek the opinion of publics, make feedback easier and faster i.e it enhanced effective two ways communication (Olayinka, 2015).

It is against this background that the research examines the effect of social media on the practice of public relations among practitioners in Lagos state with the view to know the extent at which the new media particularly social media have influence their operations especially as a platform for effective interaction and quick source of feedback in this emerging technology.

1.2       STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

There is need to ascertain how social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp,  2Go, Youtube and others have enhanced the practice of public relations especially in creating and maintaining mutual understanding for better interaction within internal and external publics. The cost effectiveness, speed of message delivery and public relations can translate the social media into feedback and opinion media.

There is therefore, problem of source credibility of information share via social media and new media which needs to be ascertained because such media is more opinionated and lack established gatekeepers (monitors). Social media problems may include examples such as imitation of web pages and sharing of fake or untrue information to the consumer you have won 10000 worth of credit in our ongoing company promo pay N2000 to claim your prize. This offer is available only for today and tomorrow.

The earlier researchers on social media and public relations focused on public relations in the developed nations like US, UK which cannot be replicated in Nigeria due to the level of technological advancement in Nigeria and exposure of the PRs practitioners in Nigeria to adopt to new innovation like social media application to their duties

In view of this, the study sought to find out the influence of social media on the practice of public relations especially in this digital age and cost of embracing social media/new media or ICTs in order to adequately recommend as appropriate.

1.3       OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of this study is to examine the effect of social media in the practice of public relations. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. To examine whether public relations professionals in Lagos are using social media in communication and sharing of ideas and activities.
  2. To find out the extent at which social media have helped public relations practitioners in solving problems and complaints from its various publics.

1.4       RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The study was guided by the following questions:

  1. To what extent are public relations professionals in Lagos state use social media in discharging their professional duties?
  2. To what extent has social media helped PRs practitioners in solving problems and complaints from its various publics?

1.5       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This research study is relatively new to the field of public relations, therefore being a new research; it aids individuals, corporate bodies, government, researchers, students, media professionals and host of others.

The study is to reveal how social media can be translated into powerful tools in the hand of innovated and creative public relation practitioners especially in building public confidences and effective interaction.

Individuals would benefit from this study as they would know the best way to use and react to social media messages and information.

Future researchers who may want to carry out research in this area or related aspect will find this material useful, while it forms the bulk of academic material.

1.6       SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study was narrowed to the effect of social media on practice of public relations with the research instrument administered to Public Relations Practitioners at the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations secretariat, Lagos since it is the easiest and convenience way to locate many public relations practitioners in the state.

The demography factors of the public relations practitioners in Lagos state were considered before the structuring and administration of research instrument (questionnaire) and such factors include but not limited to gender, age, marital status, educational level, religion, social status, work experience etc. The findings of this research shall not mire despite the scope while the outcome will be generalized.

 1.7       OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

Publics: these are the set of people or individuals whose actions, activities or reactions capable of affecting organization where public relations practitioners work

Public Relations: This refers to a deliberate planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization (where PRs person work or consult for) and all its entire publics.

Social Media: a group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundation of Web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of PRs generated content such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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SOCIAL MEDIA AMONG PUBLIC RELATIONS

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