Communicating with customers, shareholders and other stakeholders has taken on a whole new level thanks to the internet.
Being able to directly identify and communicate with a target audience, via blogs, social networking sites and other web-based sources, gives businesses, and their stakeholders, so much more power.
Public relations expert and theorist James E. Grunig devised that there are four models of public relations which, put simply, are propoganda, public information, one way asymmetrical and two way symmetrical.
Basically, an organisation can listen to or ignore its stakeholders. It can communicate with them or talk to them.
Clearly two-way symmetrical communication – in which an organisation evolves as a result of stakeholder influence and impact – is the fairest and most desirable role. And it has now become easier than ever to achieve such communication.
Utilising the internet and the web to directly connect with stakeholders opens a world of opportunities for companies and organisations – if they are willing to take the chance and delve into the world inside their computers. Many generation X or Baby Boomer managers are still perplexed by the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace – there is a lack of understanding why people would want to put their lives on show for anyone to read, why they don’t just pick up the phone to communicate with their friends.
But once you delve into the world of the internet – the millions of blogs, websites and networks – it can be quite overwhelming. There is a whole world in there that individuals can feel lost in. Joining Facebook or setting up a MySpace page is a way of staking out a claim in that world – like building a home. It’s a visable sign of your presence. And once one house is built others join them, until your own little community is visable and recognisable amid the chaos.
Globalisation continues to erode our physical boundaries – communities are not what they once were. Consequently, people continue to turn to the internet to cement relationships and find their place in what is both a smaller yet more complicated web-widened world.