Abstract: The core objective of this research was to examine the influence of Social Media as an effective communication platform for Public Relations using Global Communication Nigeria Limited as a case study. Basically, the use of social media has increased among consumers around the world, causing an increase in the adoption of social media as tactics and means of sharing information and interactions among many public relations professionals and its publics. Technological Determinism Theory was employed to justify the research objective. A quantitative research design was used in which a cross-sectional survey method was adopted while the data collection instrument was questionnaire. 100 copies of questionnaires were administered to one hundred respondents who were drawn using a simple random sampling technique within the GLO Office, Ibadan. The data collected were analysed and interpreted using simple statistics frequency and percentage table method. Findings of the research revealed that Social media are an effective tool for communicating and redistributing news from traditional media sources. Finally, it was recommended that digital media or new media should form part of the curriculum for undergraduates in mass communication and public relations, in particular, this will equip them for digital practice.
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 rests 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 potential 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 the screen (Olorede, 2011).
Adepoju et. al (2009). Observe that the internet is the host of many other media tagged socio media like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Eskimi, Whatsapp, e.t.c making information distribution faster, cheaper and easier especially for public relations practitioners whose job is to build, maintain and polish the image and integrity of the company.
Public relations use social media to share organisations views, opinions, e-releases, seek the opinion of publics, make feedback easier and faster i.e it enhanced effective two ways of communication.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Due to the rise in social media use among consumers around the world, there has been an increase in the use of social media as tactic for many public relations practitioners to track their consumers and relate with them.
Because we are in the era of consumer satisfaction 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 maintaining 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 fraudsters is another challenge identified imaging somebody imitates 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 a setback on the extent to which social media can be used 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 as an effective platform for public relations especially in a telecommunication organisation.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- 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
- 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 weaknesses of socio-media as public relations tools?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research is relatively new to the field of mass communication and public relations, yet only a few people have ever written on social media and its contribution to public relations profession or practice.
Therefore, being new research, it will benefit individuals, corporate bodies, government, researchers, students, media professionals and a host of others
The study is to reveal how socio-media can be translated into powerful tools in the hand of innovative 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, the demography of the respondents within GLO will be examined before the administration of the data collection instrument (questionnaire) such factors 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 the external 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