Vocus White PaperOptimizing Your Public Relations With Social Media
Optimizing Your Public Relations with Social Media
A Guide to Blogs, Wikis, and Social Networks or PR Proessionals
Introduction— The Emergence of Social Media
In September 2006, Hitwise, an online marketing research rm, reported that the majority o trac to online music retailer,HMV.co.uk, was reerred rom MySpace, a social networking Web site. This trac surpassed searches rom two o the mostpopular search engines, MSN UK and Yahoo! UK. While connecting users with inormation and content was once denedby complicated search algorithms, MySpace’s impact indicated a proound shit in the structure o the Internet was on thehorizon.Today’s communication’s environment increasingly relies on content generated and distributed by users like you and me. Thisis the world o social media.Evidence o the growth o social media is everywhere:In 2006, the Blogosphere had grown 100 times in three years, and accounted or 50 million blogs (Technorati, 2006).
57% o teens who use the Internet can be considered content producers in some way or another (Fox & Lenhart, 2006).
More than hal (55%) o all online American youths ages 12-17 use social networking sites (Lenhart & Madden, 2007).
In April 2006, 35,000 new videos were being posted daily to YouTube and in February 2006, YouTube attracted 9
million visitors who viewed 176 million pages (Liedtke, 2006).Wikipedia consistently places in the top-10 results or Google searches on ortune-500 brand names (Fadner, 2006).
The Evolution of Media
As with all orms o media, social media has evolved with society. The advancements in our culture have created new vehiclesor communicating with the public.Two centuries ago, media was used in reerence to newspapers. As Thomas Carlyle (1869) noted, they were the ourth estate:the medium that existed between the political sphere and the individual citizen. The newspaper editor’s job was to rame politi-cal issues and provide local citizens with the inormation needed to make political decisions.In the twentieth century we saw a new paradigm o communications emerge, mass media. The introduction o radio, televi-sion and lm ushered in a new way to broadcast messages to a mass audience. As with newspapers the messages that werebroadcast were still controlled by a small group o distributors, resulting in relatively uniorm content tailored to appeal to abroad demographic.The 20th century, however, brought with it a change that would uel a massive shit in communications’ availability, reach andcontent—the Internet. In arguably, the biggest shit to date in communications, the Internet blurred the lines between produc-tion, distribution and consumption o media content.As the Internet grew and became a staple o society, early inormation and communication technologies (ICT) such as Usenet,Multi-user Domains (MUDs), listservs, and BBS systems emerged to assist in the adoption o this growing medium. But as abroader population went online, many commercial and academic eorts ocused on making ICTs less complicated and moreaccessible to all kinds o users.The results can be seen throughout the past several years with the emergence o blogs, podcasts, social networks and a num-ber o other innovations we collectively reer to as social media. Several common traits dene social media:
Content is not controlled by editors, distributors and other outside infuences but instead is primarily gener-ated by the users themselves.
Organic Content -
In social media, content is constantly being reshaped and repurposed. An article posted one daymay be edited the next day, while a video may reappear mixed or “mashed” with another video days later.
Collaboration, participation and shared interests are the oundation o all social media, creat-ing a distinct community to each site.
Easy to use -
Taking advantage o social media is simplied to be accessible or broad audiences, enabling anyone topost or share within the community, regardless o their technical training or aptitude.