Posted by: slee3324 | November 28, 2011

From digital to physical — does social media actually “move” people?

It is said that the Internet was supposed to unite people and facilitate two-way communication (Srinivasan, 2011, p. 1).  Yet, what impact does it have on creating a physical environment for dialogue or mobilizing people? In a 2009 study done on the impact of social media on public relations practice, Wright and Hinson report that findings clearly indicate public relations practitioners believe the emergence of social media have changed the way they communicate.  There is considerable agreement that blogs and social media are more personal because they bypass traditional mass media to get to audiences and create direct dialogue. 

 Respondents to the study’s questions generally agreed that blogs and social media have had a huge impact moving public relations in the direction of facilitating more two-way communication by opening up direct channels of communications between organizations and their publics (Wright & Hinson, 2009).  It concluded that bloggers are themselves becoming influential opinion leaders and the instantaneous 24/7 nature of social media brings new meaning to the concept of “dialogue.” The study, however, does not address the impact social media has on facilitating social movements that promote the continuation of direct dialogue outside of the digital world.

 Class discussion questions:

  1. Do social media offer possibilities for mobilizing social movements outside of the digital world?
  2. If so, what would this mobilization of people look like?
  3. Could this movement be both physical and digital in nature?


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