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Part 2b: Digital Media in Public Relations (Week 10)

Focus question: How have digital platforms changed PR strategies and how do they interact with non-digital platforms? Draw parallels in your post between the issues raised in your chosen week and at least one of the others.

David Pembroke suggested in the lecture that public relations ‘is the key to effectivecommunication’ through the ‘deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation or individual and its publics,’ (Pembroke, 2013). Considering the functionality and essence of the tasks presented to public relations consultants, accommodating to their clientele and target publics is essential. Henceforth within today’s contemporary society, utilising digital platforms, such as technologies and media, is in the immediate interest of PR representatives.

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Along with the forever advancing features of these various digital platforms, PR strategies have adopted and adapted the tools provided by this evolution. When these digital platforms are managed in real time, they allow for public relations processes more efficient and less costly, particularly through the ease of identifying statistics surrounding target publics through analysing engagement, shares and ultimately sales. The traditional methods of thinking and perspectives of this field have been manipulated, permitting public relations initiatives to be enabled by both non-digital and digital apparatus like never before.

 “The digital world has started to catch up and brands, and government agencies, and companies and all sorts of people are now understanding the fundamental truth that they are now in the publishing business,” (Pembroke, 2013). This includes the likes of social media channels (ie Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogs) and a vast range of other online resources (ie Youtube, Pinterest) that can be used to distribute a message, or other related content, to connect with an audience.

Within the aforementioned public relations strategies, there are techniques used to enhance the communication tactics employed. Some of the important characteristics that are considered are include shaping identities of clientele and also managing and maintaining this image (generally) in a positive way, through digital media platforms. This is a crucial element of public relations, as they are representing the clientele as a brand, which is ‘sold’ to target publics – thus appealing to specific communities of interest.

First identifying communities of interest (COIs), then appealing to and engaging with them is fundamental to the efficiency of public relations activity. By finding common characteristics of these prospective communities, in order to distinguish the most practical, imaginative and effective ways of relating PR stories to them. The key skills in identifying these COIs today through digital media include strengthening, “market research and analysis, which will enable the identification and characterization of COIs”; “leadership, communication and persuasiveness”; “networking technology, both in hardware and software”; “marketing to distributed and often virtual communities”; and “customer management,” (Ormerod, 1999).

Pembroke also implied in the lecture that “everyone is a publisher”, and that ‘the effect of digital media has been to make PR less reliant on journalism,’ (Pembroke, 2013), increasing the simplicity of selling PR stories to target publics. So, although public relations still engages with non-digital platforms, traditional formats like newspaper articles, digital platforms have equipped them to circulate and distribute information much quicker and easier. Through the application of digital platforms, public relations specialists are able to draw the attention of a much larger audience than ever before, especially with the accessibility of information online and through the media in real time.

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REFERENCE LIST

Ormerod, P. (1999, 09 1). Digital Communities of Interest. Retrieved 11 08, 2013, from Sage Publications: http://bir.sagepub.com.ezproxy1.canberra.edu.au/content/16/3/137.full.pdf+html

Pembroke, D. (Performer). (2013, 10 29). Digital Media in… PR. Canberra.

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Part 2a: Privacy and Publicity

Privacy is a major concern that is highly debated when the surge of digital technology is discussed. This especially as a result of the accessibility of information made possible by the Internet and media, and the general structure and functioning of our contemporary, connected society. So, although technically privacy of the individual is protected by government legislation, there is always a prevalent threat of privacy being breached to some extent. Although with this being said, as digital technology advances and the paranoia surrounding the risk of privacy invasion increases, privacy policy is improved and features of online identity are becoming harder to track where security settings are well adjusted.

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Statistics show that 1 in every 3 people now use Facebook, 50% of which log on every day,with 12,800,00 being Australian users. Furthermore, the age demographic of Facebook users shows that about 67% of this number is made up people aged 18-29, showing that the majority of users are part of the younger generation. The inevitable vulnerability of privacy is becoming increasingly apparent as the use of social media rises in popularity, with users constantly updating personal images and information. As was mentioned in the lecture this is referred to as interactional information: “information that is collected about you through your interaction with a service, or an app, or a device” (Hinton, 2013).

Additionally in reference to the lecture, the challenge in controlling how information is shared online is expanding with the digital technologies that exist today. This is occurring due to companies monitoring and storing personal details, as well as security features on devices such as location data, tagging by friends and hyperlink tracking, IP address data and cookies. Furthermore, J. J. Britz has highlighted that there are ethical issues associated with the electronic monitoring of people in the workplace, the interception of e-mail messages, databanking of personal information and data stored by use of fre-quent shopper cards.

“Information is private when a person can control access to it herself, or when she can be at least relatively secure in her expectation of being able to monitor access to and disclosure of information,” (Roessler & Mokrosinka, 2013, p. 772). Though this leads us to question whether digital technologies should be held entirely accountable for this ‘breach of privacy’ or is it still in the user’s power to decide on the amount of personal information they upload online? Rather than technological advancements being blamed for encouraging users to participate in this, is it instead a lack of awareness of the potential threat to privacy of the users who are posting this information?

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Jurgensen and Ray (2012) resist the notion that digital technologies are affecting users’ privacy in either an absolute positive or negative way. They demonstrate the idea that it is of common belied that privacy cannot exist concurrently whilst publicity through technology and media prevails. Although they argue that this is based on false premises, and that there is rather a, “dialectical relationship, where privacy and publicity are deeply intertwined, mutually reinforcing, and perhaps both increasing as digital information grows more ubiquitous.” They compare the symbiosis of privacy and publicity to themovement revealed in fan dancing, suggesting the metaphor that the ‘seduction of social media’ is enforced by the fact that, “privacy can create conspicuousness and publicity can conceal.”

REFERENCE LIST

Hinton, S. (Performer). (2013, October 8). Privacy and Publicity (Week 9 Lecture).

Roessler, B., & Mokrosinka, D. (2013, 07 19). Privacy and Social Interaction. Retrieved 10 31, 2013, from Sage Publications: http://psc.sagepub.com.ezproxy1.canberra.edu.au/content/39/8/771.full.pdf+html

Part 1b: Copyright, sharing and remixing

Australian copyright law originated in the year 1911 and was based heavily on British copyright law and International copyright agreements. At this time, copyright was primarily used to protect the intellectual property of authors and cartographers for their predominantly tangible based works and ideas. Since then, technology has evolved dramatically and its expansion is now incorporated into a large aspect of creative and professional fields, posing the challenge to cover creative property strictly by copyright law. Along with this development of technology, legislation and copyright protection has transformed to suit these styles, such as the introduction of Creative Commons licences (cc) which provides “free licences and tools that copyright owners can use to allow others to share, reuse and remix their material, legally.”

Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) is the current legislation used within Australia introduced with the aim to promote the success of intellectual authors and creators by granting them ownership or exclusive rights of their work for a specific length of time. 21st Century Copyright states that, “as laws struggle to catch up with our rapidly moving digital century, we are working to let creativity flourish, protect the rights of creators and provide viable products for consumers.” Due to the extreme development of technology in the past decade, the availability and accessibility of material on the Internet has made illegal copying difficult to monitor and as a result, copyright law tough to enforce. In many cases this illegal activity does not pose much of a threat to the original creator or author where the copying is used for educational or non-profit purposes.

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As mentioned previously, Creative Commons licenses have been introduced to promote a balance between the author/creator of a work and the interest of the general public. Here, the public is given the opportunity to use copyrighted material but are limited by certain provisions, often concerning correct referencing or citing of the material. It can be debated that the introduction of Creative Commons licenses has not solved the issues surrounding the enforcement of copyright legislation as the problem lies within the ease of access to copyrighted works and the complication of obtaining an efficient copyright, which will be governed effectively. Both of these problems have risen and are significant in the 21st century due to the rapid development of digital media. The legislation in place is not effective and is rarely enforced.

Within, How Creativity is Being Strangled By the Law, Lawrence Lessig builds his argument around the view that “plagiarism is the only crime for which the death penalty is appropriate,” (Lessig, p157). He speaks of two changes that need to be made within copyright law, adapting to the fact that creative resources are so easily accessible to everyone today. The first is that “we need to distinguish between taking someone’s work and just duplicating it versus doing something with the work that creates something new,” Lessig, p164). Secondly, he suggests that “we have to recognise we’re a decade into a war on piracy that has totally failed” (Lessig p164).

Reference:

Lessig, L. (2012). How Creativity is Being Strangled By the Law. In M. Mandiberg (Ed.), The Social Media Reader (pp. 155-169)0. New York, USA: New York University Press.

Part 1a: Question 1

I myself am a part of the younger generation in ‘today’s modern society’; that which is increasingly becoming known as digital natives for the inheritance of a new skill set indoctrinated by the nuanced facets of our networked media culture. It is clear that more so than ever before there is a rising predominance of the use of not only social networking sites, but also the integration of online advertising and digital marketing. Similarly, it is not difficult to see that this dependence on the tools supplied by sources of networking and mass communication has paved the path towards an enhanced efficiency of online communication.

Time can google solve death

We are living in a generation that is currently cultivating the question, “Can Google Solve Death?” This following shortly after Google’s “moon shot” initiation of Calico, which is currently being debated by huge commentator influencers such as Time magazine and Gawker, representing the sheer absurdity of the internet presence in our everyday lives. Additionally, reports of the Australian Social Media Statistics confirm that in July 2013 there were approximately 13,000,000 Facebook users/accounts and 11,500,000 YouTube UAVs within Australia. This trending interest is fuelled by the collaborative effort of features such as hyperlinks, multimedia and the like. These tools each have different purposes, but have come about to benefit and advance this networked media culture.

Hyperlinks function as an asset to providing an easily navigable path between sites, files and tagged categories that may be accessible from any location on the World Wide Web, with a simple, click-through action. By utilising this online resource, communication is improved between people of all age groups through social media outlets, emailing, corporation intranets and any other interaction resources online. The existence of hyperlinks equips Internet users with a more efficient experience, as they supply links to appropriate and related sites.

hyperlink_handFurthermore, with the proliferation of business media endorsement, hyperlink building is seen as a supplement to online communication between businesses to their public audiences. A backlink can be provided to a brand, increasing its search engine rankings and in time, heighten the hype created around the product, via easy accessibility and appearing as a suggested link to audiences.

Multimedia is a second aspect that builds on and enhances online communication. Multimedia integrates text, graphics, video, animation and sound formats to create an aesthetic that can attract to specified audiences. It is most commonly used either in a persuasive context in order to promote something, or to project a further understanding of something. The stylistic structure created online by the incorporation of these devices acts as an attempt to appeal to today’s generation through visual and audible stimuli.

There are so many branches and extensions of the Internet that provide useful information, tutorials, research and other related documents. Thanks to the affordances of a networked media culture, such as hyperlinks and multimedia, these are all easily accessible and thus work to enhance online communication. Whether a message is subtly being conveyed through an image online, or a product is being promoted through a linked webpage, this approach to online interaction is lessening the need for text, and is continuing the evolution of our tech-savvy, connected society.