Growing Importance of Social Media Leads to a Need for Research

Social MediaBy Desirae Kay Johnson

It’s hard to deny: Social media have become a big part of our everyday lives. From keeping up with high school acquaintances, sharing photos and updating our friends with what we had for dinner last night to researching the business hours of a local store or contacting an organization for customer service purposes, we are now more connected than ever.

Because social media continues to grow in importance, the body of literature on the subject has also grown. Both individual professionals and professional organizations generate best practices guidelines through conferences, blogs, white papers and trade publications. But, it’s not just the professionals working in the field who produce content on social media. Academic scholars in areas such as communication, marketing, advertising and business also have a lot to say on the subject.

Although many scholars actively research social media, there is still a need for more. Current social media tools change at a rapid pace, and new ones are created every day. This often means that once an article is published in a journal, it is soon out of date. There is also limited research on the global reach of social media, and how these tools are used outside of the United States.

social mediaThe need for research on the global scope of social media has led me to Dublin, Ireland—a fast-paced city full of public relations firms, both large and boutique—many with an emphasis on digital and social media.

The purpose of my research is to determine how Irish PR practitioners use social media to develop relationships with key online audiences. This study is significant for several reasons: 1) There is limited research on how public relations practitioners use social media for relationship-building; 2) Most of the studies on the relationship-building qualities of social media were conducted in the United States; and 3) Many of the firms in Ireland handle the public relations for global brands.

My interviews just started and I already have a wealth of valuable information. I will post significant findings as they come to give you a sneak peek at what my paper has in store. Check back often to find out more.

If you would like to participate in this study or have questions about me research, contact me at dteasdal@kennesaw.edu.

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