Social media has changed the face of communication in the last decade. Before Facebook and twitter, basic social media platforms like hi5, Friendster and Myspace gave us the opportunity to build networks, express our uniqueness and expand our social circles while sitting in the comforts of our homes.
Today social media has become a powerful platform, we are constantly plugged in, with a majority of ISP and mobile phone companies offering access to social platforms at no cost. This constant access has weakened our need to depend on traditional media such as newspapers, radio, TV and to a certain extent a landline.
This doesn’t just apply to a younger demographic, recent studies have shown that older adults above the age of 65 have tripled their usage of social media from 14% in 2009 to 34% in 2013. As a population we use social media in a number of ways including reading the news, learning about new events, as a feedback/review mechanism and as a way of staying in touch with the world.
This change in how we communicate with the world around us brings a shift in power; the end-user (us) who was once considered a passive audience is now a game changer and Public Relations practitioners are catching onto this.
Public Relations practitioners have realised that social media has created open channels of communication (two-way communication), the ability to broadcast information to a wider and interactive audience and the ability to provide a personalised service to everyone.