This paper aimed to research new phenomena in PR practice since the rise of social media. Much of the literature on this topic is quite outdated and doesn’t properly take recent changes in the fields into consideration. For this reason, it was important to conduct a study based on these new changes in the profession of PR. This paper studied the way in which PR practitioners perceived their profession to have changed since the rise and wide-spread adoption of social media platforms. This research was conducted through an in-depth interviewing process with PR practitioners. These interviews were then analyzed and interpreted using the grounded theory approach and coding. Overall, ten practitioners were interviewed with an average duration of around 45 minutes per interview. The results of the interviews outlined several elements of their profession which were experiencing changes due to the rise of social media platforms. They first outlined the element of networks and information as social media enables practitioners to create and maintain strong connections with sources and contacts whilst also staying updated with relevant trends. The second element which was explained was that of building and maintaining a reputation and positive public image, a core element to PR. The strategies related to building this reputation along with the values of the companies were outlined in relation to social media as being an important platform to enforce these. Following, the reach of the company and communication with the public was discussed as they explained how social media enables conversation with the public along with facilitating the spread of information and gaining visibility online. Finally, certain limitations to the literature and theory were outlined as the practitioners gave their insights into the changing roles in PR, it become a multi-faceted practice, incorporating many different fields into the same roles. Social media ambivalence was also a main issue for the practitioners as they explained social media to be more of an important external factor to consider rather than a tool they can leverage for PR practices. All in all, this research was able to outline certain discrepancies between theory and literature and real-life practices of PR professionals. It was able to outline the importance of considering social media whilst also explaining the limits of it as a tool.

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Pridmore, J.
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Goetzen-Iturbide, Isabella Von. (2019, June 29). The Evolution of Public Relations in a Digital World How PR practices have changed with the rise of social media. Media & Business. Retrieved from