This Weeks Highlights: Positives and negatives of online presence for PR and the power of Instagram

The first thing from this weeks textbook reading which I found interesting was the discussion about web 1.0, which is basically the earlier version of the internet, compared to the internet now and what benefits it has presented for public relations and how these benefits have evolved. What I gained from this section of the reading is that with many positive aspects of social media for PR, such as having a platform for engaging social campaigns and giving an organisation the chance to strengthen its relationship with its publics, it also has a possible downfall which was not at first realised. In the early stages of this chapter, Quinn-Allan and Bennett (2014) have said “In this multi-voiced, multi-participant environment, it is potentially more difficult for public relations to be noticed and attended to, and greater scrutiny of organisations by their target publics is possible”. This tells us that with this positive social evolvement in PR, there comes a risk, which must be watched out for and monitored. This is also a negative thing for PR as it may blur the line between professional/organisation and audience/consumer, therefore putting stress on factors such as public image and relationship.

In terms of the benefits of an online presence, Quinn-Allan and Bennett (2014) have discussed the fact that with public relations practitioners following audiences into social media, they have actually developed a whole new set of skills, which can bring extreme social benefits to an organisation. From this section of the reading, I learnt that social media really does allow opportunity for development and preservation of the organisation and publics relationship. Additionally this reading tells me that, as well as having the chance to maintain existing relationships with publics, social media allows an organisation to engage new publics. Social media based advertisement is like the new word-of-mouth form of advertisement but better because you can simply give a person a link that takes them directly to the website of an organisation/brand.

Another interesting section of this reading was about how Instagram can benefit public relations. Quinn-Allan and Bennett (2014) say this is done by the use of hash tags and “@Mentions” to share things such as campaigns, content and organisations with fellow Instagram users. Some instances where I have witnessed Instagram being used for PR purposes is when a person or organisation has raised awareness about a campaign on a social issue, advertised an event, shared recent successes which appeal to its publics and strengthen their public image and also to create a more personal relationship with publics by sharing things about specific employees. This weeks reading made me realize how, for PR purposes, social media is kind of like a double-edged sword. It allows organisations to create greater relationships with its publics but may be blurring certain lines by doing so.

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