Public relations culture, social media, and regulation

Jennifer Vardeman-Winter (Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)
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– The purpose of this paper is to explore how practitioner culture is maintained despite legal, technical, and educational issues resulting from the deluge of social media. The authors examined the nexus of practitioner culture, social media usage, and regulatory forces like policies, authority figures, and social norms.

– To explore practitioner culture, a cultural studies approach was used. Specifically, the circuit of culture model framed data analysis. The authors conducted qualitative interviews with 20 US public relations practitioners.

– Social media emerged as integral for cultural maintenance at every point in the circuit of culture. Practitioners expressed shared meanings about the regulations of social media as the reinvention of communication amidst growing pains; blurred public-private boundaries; nuanced rules of netiquette; and new systems of measurement and education.

– The authors propose a regulation-formality hypothesis and regulation-identification articulations that should be considered in public relations practice, research, and education.

– Findings suggest best practices to help practitioners negotiate their personal identities and the identities of their organizations because of the unregulated nature of social media.

– This study fills the need for more qualitative, in-depth research that describes the cultural implications of social media in public relations to better address misunderstandings or gaps between its perceived effectiveness and actual use.

Social media, Culture, Regulation, Public relations, Practitioners
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2015
Published by Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Jennifer Vardeman-Winter, Katie Place, (2015) "Public relations culture, social media, and regulation", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 19 Issue: 4, pp.335-353,
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Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X
Online from: 1995

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