Blogging. It has become a sort of commodity in the past 15 years. A blog tends to “contain personal opinion as well as facts” and has “a significantly narrower locus of control” (Holtz, 2006, p1-2).
These personal opinions, evident in a more sharing and personalised environment such as Tumblr displays how a blog will inevitably “inherit its author’s identity and personality”(Holtz, 2006, p2). My Tumblr blog, for example, is a collection of images, videos and quotes which relate to my personality. Visiting my Tumblr blog displays this eclectic collection of everything on the internet because as R.A. Salvatore says, “sane is boring”.
For those blogs however where a characterised voice is evident, yet the argument is on behalf of an image which must be upheld in a positive light, credibility is of paramount importance. Credibility dictates who will read the blog and leave believing what they read. Businesses, recognising that social media is essential, are now undertaking a creation of a blog or social media department, which Holtz supports. “Businesses do need to integrate blogging into their already existing communication infrastructure” (Holtz, 2006, p233) and those businesses that do not widen their boundaries by producing these blogging departments will suffer in the long run.
Public Relations can use these blogs, or the creation of blogs, as a strategy in their goals and objectives to maintain relationships with the desired publics. Without integrating social media, through mediums such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter, chances dwindle and disadvantages grow. Holtz advocates this integration, arguing that lack thereof of social media will prevent “an important source of information and feedback about the organisation, its industry, its people and more”(Holtz, 2006, p233).
Coming back now to Public Relations and the strategies designed through mediums such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs will certainly develop Grunig’s two-way symmetric model within the specific organisation or brand. The presentation of information and opinion displays openness, however it’s the “listening, [and] taking on board feedback, and sometimes changing its position and behaviour to align itself with its stakeholders”(Macnamara, 2010, p311) that will dictate how successful a Public Relations strategy was and where improvement is necessary.
In reviewing success or need for improvement, Public Relations professionals can use blogs, which provide a discussion or comment area to each posted blog, which provides a transparent and honest approach to releasing the organisation’s opinion and in turn , receiving the public’s opinion. Twitter and Facebook accounts allow similar senses of honesty, however these social platforms have available stronger censorships, whereby the account holder can remove comments they deem unnecessary. The evaluation of opinions can arguably be more evident, intense and denser on popular mediums as Facebook, therefore the integration of numerous sites will ensure a thorough and beneficial review.
“On some occasions, persuasion to the organisation’s viewpoint is legitimate, while in other situations organization alignment with public views is desirable”(Macnamara, 2010, p311) solidifies that a Public Relations professionals strategy “requires mutuality and interdependency of organisational, environmental and community interests”(Macnamara, 2010, p313).
Therefore, strategising goals and objectives via social media contains the same risks, “such as in the case of bad publicity, but also offers major benefits as editorial coverage”(Macnamara, 2010, p314) and should be integrated into all businesses that wish to develop their publics and increase their profit. Risk is a concrete factor for any circumstance, however the possibilities that can arise such as air time and editorials trump the risks.
Holtz, Shel. 2006, ‘Blogging for business [various readings]’, Blogging for business2006, Kaplan Publishing, Chicago, pp. 1-20, 231-234
Macnamara, J 2010, ‘The future of public relations’, The 21st century media (r)evolution : emergent communication practices 2010, Peter Lang, New York, pp. 307-326