2 February 2010

There's Something About Social Media

The Good Stuff

Though social media are not novelty any more they are still one of the hottest topics in public relations theories. It’s enough to listen to dissertation topics students pick for their final papers this year to find out that social media are still in the centre of discussions. People wonder, what kind of impact will/does it have on PR? Is this a threat or an opportunity to the industry? Is this another stage for corporate and political propaganda? How can we use it in PR campaigns?

I found out that in 2009 there were 225 million global facebook users. So far Unites States and Britain are the largest countries that use this platform and there is more female users comparing to male audience. But facebook is not the only social networking platform out there.

Pew Research Centre found out that in America “Twitter and similar services have been most avidly embraced by young adults. Nearly one in five (19%) online adults ages 18 and 24 have ever used Twitter and its ilk, as have 20% of online adults 25 to 34. Use of these services drops off steadily after age 35 with 10% of 35 to 44 year olds and 5% of 45 to 54 year olds using Twitter. The decline is even more stark among older internet users; 4% of 55-64 year olds and 2% of those 65 and older use Twitter”.

All these information is very valuable from the point of view of marketers and PR professionals. So what that such platforms as YouTube or Twitter don’t earn money. They are worth billions of dollars because of the data gathered on them: details on date of births, locations, e-mail addresses and even interests of potential consumers to marketers and PR people.

Social networking certainly gives advantages for these two industries, such as for example: reaching vast numbers of people; a chance for two-way communication between the company and its public (especially if it comes to feedback and people’s opinion on products or services); it gives an opportunity to create a buzz among certain audiences (above all young people) and make the word of mouth more effective/vast.

„Today’s public relations industry has become so pervasive that part of its invisibility steams from the fact that it is, indeed, everywhere [...]”, wrote Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber in Trust Us, We’re Experts. This invisibility is a big advantage for PR, and new media became a new stage for public relations activities where PR can be almost transparent. Who can say who is on the other side of that net where the message was sent? Who can say, what are the motives of people posting blogs on specific topics (life for instance fashion blogs)? Who is taking up discussions on consumer forums? These people can be hired professionals exaggerating some issues or trying to divert readers’ attention from others.
For more statistics on facebook have a look at:

Stats on Twitter:

Image taken from:


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