Despite social media platforms like electronic news release distribution, email customer response facilities, chat rooms, and corporate websites being the driving engine of public relations (PR) practice, many PR practitioners cannot get in terms with the impact of these platforms and especially the internet. It beats imagination that PR practitioners less embraces the new media platforms; they not only fear the technology but also are ill equipped to manage it (). The new media is greatly increasing the stakeholder strength by enabling efficient and effective exchange of information amongst different stakeholder groups and this is shifting the terrain of PR practice (). The emergence of new technologies and media channels as well as new ways of disseminating information between businesses and customers has revolutionized the PR industry. Companies can engage in two-way communication with clients. Unfortunately, businesses are facing a new challenge of handling the emerging forms of communication and are beginning to appreciate the necessity of PR as an organizational function even though PR practitioners themselves find social media to be a big challenge. Therefore, this study embarked on researching onto this new development and find comprehensive insights into the impact of social media on PR.
What is Public Relation (PR)?
PR as a discipline became widely known and practiced in the beginning of the twentieth century and since then it has been associated with the development of media (internet, print, radio, TV) as it influences policies, behavior, and actions (). “Public Relations enable institutions to mutually adapt with its publics.” This was a definition that was adopted by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in 1982. Dionisopoulos and Cheney (2017) correspondingly defined public relations as “a way of managing communications between an institution and its publics.” At the same time, another definition by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) states that PR entails reputation-the outcome of one’s action(s), what one says, and how other people regard them, hence PR is purposeful effort of creating and sustaining goodwill and mutual association between an institution and its publics.
The definition presented by PRSA puts emphasis on the significance of dialogue, while that of CIPR stresses on reputation by establishing and nurturing good relationship with publics. Smith (2017) also asserts that PR entails the establishment and sustaining a good two-way dialogue between an organization, its stakeholders, and its publics. PR has several definitions because the industry is ever adjusting to new trends and influence from the media, old and new (Grunig, 2017, p.17). however, the common definition of PR is a discipline that is focused on the exchange of information ().
What is Social Media (SM)?
Wu et al., (2019, 80) describes social media as “a collection of online applications that are based on the foundations of the web that allow users to create and exchange information.” Lund et al., (2018, 273) defines SM as a platform that allows everyone to participate by sharing ideas and thoughts that promote online interactions.
Public Relations Practice and Social Media
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