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Media Relations Evolving due to Social Media

I read an article today regarding media relations, and as some of the third years in our class are experiencing Media Relations class this summer, I found it particularly relevant and how they tie social media as a contributing factor on how it will evolve in 20 years.

Don Bates: What will media relations look like in 10-20 years?

Here are some of the major key points that Bates took from his research on social media’s affect: (http://www.instituteforpr.org/digest_entry/don_bates_media_relations/)

  • Social networking sites and podcasts are used least often for editing and reporting compared to other sources, and most often by editors/ journalists younger in age and experience. Blogs are used almost as often as trade journals.
  • For monitoring responses to stories, only websites and blogs are considered important; conferences, trade journals, industry newswires, social networking sites, and podcasts are rated as unimportant.

As a future Media Analyst, and knowing we will be starting pod casts next week, the thought comes to mind – how can we make this important? How do we take this prediction and shape it so the use of social media in media monitoring and relations can be utilized? When we graduate, of course. We need to take our ideas to those who may (or may not be) as tech-savvy as we are, and show them the many benefits of social media in media relations. Here are a few examples I came up with:

1. Skype: video conferencing can bring in a much larger volume of press when doing a news conference. With the teleconferencing and microphones, have a small laptop set up with a webcam so people can connect via Skype (or other video conferencing alternative).

2. Facebook/Myspace/LiveJournal, etc: Like we learned in class, we run risk of discovering “slacktivism”, but to the critical mind, Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites are a gold mine for finding out perceptions to news, a new product, a crisis, etc. On my second workterm during a Canadian Coast Guard crisis, I scanned facebook and within 12 hours of the crisis hitting, there were 25 seperate groups in memory, in anger, for support and for information popping up all over the site. Understanding that people use Facebook much like a forum to express themselves, it really is worth taking advantage of.

3. Podcasts: This could really be much more internal. At my work terms, employees were allowed to use their iPods and MP3 Players as long as it didn’t affect work productivity. Why not have an audio version of a newsletter or a message from the CEO/Director downloaded straight from an organization’s intranet site? As long as it’s creative and upbeat, people will be less likely to ignore it. Even add some humour into it, and you may have a hit on your hands.
Media relations and media monitoring is going to change in the next 20 years, according to Don Bates. Not drastically, but he predicts that social media will have a significant impact on how it will be done. As future PR practitioners, I believe we can use social media to our advantage in media monitoring/relations to reach more audiences and to move up with the technological times.

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June 7, 2009 - Posted by | Review of Monitored Site

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