Lecture Outtakes: Social Media

[Social media have caused] a shift in trust: to the brand known as ‘friend.’ -Edelman, 2010

It goes without saying that social media have profoundly changed the practice of public relations and, by extension, public relations visual communication. One need not look far to find ample examples.

Crowdsourced Content

Jonathan Jones gave a great talk on crowdsourced content that was sponsored by UF PRSSA and the PR Advisory Council, and his focus corresponded well with our own class discussion of social media. Essentially Jones pointed out that social media have made it increasingly easy to crowdsource ideas at relatively little cost. Jones sited this Doritos ad for the Superbowl:


Ben and Jerry’s has already jumped on the Instagram train; I’m sure we will see a lot more of this as the Instagram platform continues to surge in popularity.

Inkhouse features a great post on how to use Instagram in public relations, In this post, they mention Instagram’s photo map feature. The Kate Spade blog makes quick use of this, as seen in this screen capture from the blog:

Kate Spade blog, Kay Tappan
A screen capture of the Kate Spade blog.

Social Media Influencers and Amplifiers

We had a great discussion in lecture on how different age groups use social media; this was prompted by an article I read recently in the San Francisco Chronicler entitled It’s Official: Teens are Bored with Facebook. Most of the class explained how their younger, teenage siblings are using social media.

“If they don’t get enough likes, they take the photo down,” one student explained of her younger sibling’s Instagram use.

Another described how social media have become ever more immediate as smart phones become status quo. As a result the expectation is that images are posted to sites such as Instagram in real time; if this is not the case, it’s common courtesy to say as much with a hashtag.

The bottom line? Ask your amplifiers and influencers how they are using social media, as NPR did when they invited a bunch of 20-somethings to their “Weekend in Washington” event. Don’t assume that everyone uses the same platforms you do and in the same ways. Nothing drives home that point more than listening to a classroom of 20-year-olds explain that they feel old and out-of-touch with current social media trends.


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