It is interesting to compare the results of two studies:
- Preliminary findings from the Middleberg/SNCR Survey of Media in the Wired World presented by Don Middleberg & SNCR Executive Director Jen McClure
- Findings from the first longitudinal study of social media adoption by the Inc. 500, by Dr Nora Ganim Barnes of the University of Massachusetts.
The first of these focuses on the effects of new media on US journalists and aims to inform PR practice. The second looks at corporate usage of the same tools.
It is clear that more and more journalists are relying on online tools in their work – the majority reference company websites, blogs and Wikipedia. Interestingly, although 92% use corporate websites, it appears that only around 60% rate these as credible.
Could this be that the leading department given responsibility for social media is marketing – or bizarrely “none”? Why haven’t PR practitioners taken on the challenge?
Indeed, it appears few corporates are using, or intend to use, social media tools. Even though the Middleberg/SNCR study shows many tools (such as Twitter) receive little media attention at present, companies are even slower to move in this area, despite believing they are very important.
Those companies that are using tools report they have been successful, whilst the laggards report a lack of desire/need and resource/time constraints.
Dr Barnes views her results positively as more companies are engaging in social media than a year ago. The message for PR practitioners from the media study is more pointed: “managing social media belongs with PR practitioners”.
Although at present, journalists report they still depend on personal relationships with PR practitioners, their increasing use of social media is something the profession ignores – or leave to marketing colleagues – at its peril.