- Background to the Study
Communication is a basic human need and for that reason, man has always found a means of satisfying this need. It is believed that no human society can function effectively if there is no exchange of ideas, experiences, etc between and among the people within the society since no man can live in isolation of others.
The earliest forms of trado-media, interpersonal and group forms of communication had the benefit of being easy to use and did not necessarily needcomplex technologies. The weaknesses of not being able to communicate to large audience led to the development of mass media such as: telegraph, newspapers, magazines, radio and television and to the recent Internet/ICT/which has helped in broadening the scope of digital public relations.
Advancement in modern technology has revolutionized all facets of communication during the past decades. Access to the people and information practically anywhere and anytime in the world has been quicker, cheaper and easier.
Awake (2002) cited in Kur (2004), posits that the dynamic nature of the 2ls century and more centuries to come rest on technological revolution. No wonder, Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian English Professor in 1964 propoundedthe concept of “Global Village” regarding the entire globe as having the potentials of becoming a “global community” where information and news about anything and anywhere in the world would be readily available for anyone’s consumption in any part of the world and without mincing word, the impact of International Network (Internet) in achieving this feat cannot be underestimated.
This new technology has compressed the whole world into a single electronic to where information about far and near can be exchanged and shared with just a click of mouse or touch of screen.
Adepoju et. al (2009). Observe that internet being the host of many other media tagged socio-media like: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Ebay, Ebuddy, Eskimi, 2go, e.t.c making information distribution faster, cheaper and easier especially for public relations practitionals whose job is to build, maintain and polish the image and interity of company.
The arrival of this information and communication technology has influenced and shaped every human activities ranging from Education to Agriculture, Business, Mass communication, Politics, Health etc.
Public relations use social media to share organisations view, opinions, e-releases, seek the opinion of publics, make feedback easier and faster i.e it enhanced effective two ways communication.
According to Paul Gillin (2008), Senior fellow society of new communication Research, social media are giving rise to a new style of communication that is characterized by conversation and community.
However , the practice of public Relations is not exceptional as ICT has influenced the PRS practice in this century.
Carrying out project work relating to the influence of social media on the practice of public relations will lead to the definition of core words “ Social Media and Public Relations from different perspectives.
According to Mark Dykeman (2008)) “ Social media are the means for any person to publish digital creative content, provide and obtain real time feedback via online discussion, commentary and evaluation and incorporate changes or correction of the original content (p.1). Many people think of social media, they think of facebook and twitter. However, social media do not just include social networking sites, but also blogs, forums, message boards, search engine marketing, wikis, professional network and micro blogging sites (Wright and Hinson, 2009).
According to the institute of Public Relations, “Public Relations is a deliberate planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its various publics.
Digital public relations or e- public relation is the latest concept in corporate reputation management.
- Statement of the Problem
Due to the rise in social media use among consumers around the world, there as been an increase in the use of social media as tactics for many public relations practitioners to track their consumers and relate with them.
Because we are in the era of consumer satisification due to heavy competition. The major concern of this research is to ascertain how social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram e.t.c has influenced the practice of public relations especially in creating and maintain mutual understanding for better interaction within internal and external publics.
Also, imitation of web pages and sharing of fake or untrue information to consumers by fraudster is another challenge identified imaging somebody imitate or design a facebook official page of Dangote and send “you have won tone of cement in our company quickly pay 10,000 to double your tones: this offer is available only today and tomorrow”. This brings setback on the extentto which social media can be use as PRs tools.
Although others have examined some part of the contribution of new communication media to the practice of public relations, there are fewer studies looking at how public relations practitioners actually are using these new media.