BLOGGERS AND INFLUENCERS:
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
While social media is often highlighted as a hindrance to communication, it is worth noting the vast positive effects it can have in promoting relationships between public relations practitioners and influencers/bloggers. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube are often used by bloggers and influencers to promote products and personal brands. While these platforms were initially used primarily as a form of public information communication, in recent times this communication model has developed to increasingly include two-way asymmetrical and two-way symmetrical communication (Grunig 2008, p 287). An increase in comments, subscriptions, polls and other interactive elements, has cemented social media as one of the most vital recourses available to public relations practitioners.
So how as public relations practitioners can we use this recourse not only to promote our relationship with the public, but with bloggers and influencers to promote both online and offline relationships? One of the amazing features of social media is that it allows for quick and concise communication. Through comments, reposting and re tweeting, practitioners are able to develop and maintain a relationship and repour with bloggers and influencers without time consuming face-to-face communication. In future face-to-face interactions it can assist in promoting topics of conversation and business proposals that are relevant to their current work and built on an already existing relationship.
The ability to communicate and effectively run social media demonstrates to bloggers and influencers the ability to understand the field they work in, the ability to create content for, and communicate with audiences in a way relevant their field. Monitoring social media personalities and trends demonstrates that the work created by the public relations practitioner can be relevant to both them and their wider audience. Personal accounts can be used as a folio of sorts to demonstrate skills in both creating and managing accounts, be that personal or business.
While social media does no doubt hinder communication in some forms, as public relations practitioners in the 21st century it is vital to both the development, and longevity of business and communications. Assisting in developing relationships, promoting partnerships and demonstrating relevance, social media communication plays a role that reaches far beyond its user’s screens. Therefore the vital importance of this tool, not only online, but in the promotion of relationships with bloggers and influencers, should not be underestimated by modern day public relations practitioners.
Grunig, J 2009, Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management, Grunig J (eds), retrieved April 4th 2019, Ebook database
Through my film I wanted to explore the topic of digital divides, specifically in relation to the elderly and disabled. The contention I wished to convey through my video project was that although technological advances have seen divisions form and grow, specifically in relation to the younger vs older population, the ways it can be used to diminish divides in terms of age and disability can hugely assist in promoting quality of life and connections for a society that can often become disconnected from the wider community.
To support this contention I interviewed my grandpa Bob, who uses technology for enjoyment and to communicate with family and medical professionals. I also interviewed my Nan’s husband Bill, who us legally blind and relies on technology to assist with his vision and communicate with his family in the UK.
Once decided on a topic I developed a script and series of questions, which I provided both Bill and Bob with. I spoke to both participants and together we discussed that the questions would not be strictly covered in the interview but were merely a rough guide as to the topics I wanted to discuss in our interview. I wanted to create a casual and conversational atmosphere as I felt it developed more sincere answers and allowed for more of an insight into the personality of Bob and Bill.
I employed the rule of thirds in individual shots, such as my introduction and the close up angles on Bob and Bill. Framing the shots so that my body took up two thirds of the frame and my eyes were even with the second third of the frame horizontally, in some cases this required cropping the shot through iMovie. Unfortunately when speaking to my Nan the framing was much closer than most other shots and did not employ the rule of thirds accurately. My Nan initially did not wish to be interviewed but half way through came into the shot to offer everyone snacks and began commenting on some of the topics being discussed. Although Nan’s framing was not ideal I felt it would be an interesting perspective to interview someone who used little to no technology and thought that her input was too valuable to edit out of my film.
Each interview went for between 5 and 7 minutes so overlay footage was employed to assist in hiding out edited section of film. I chose to use two angles not only to assist in hiding cuts but also to assist in portraying a sense of character through close up shots of the interviewee’s facial expressions. I also included a variety of candid clips to provide the viewer with further insight into the life and character of Bob and Bill.
Audio was recorded on a separate device to ensure clarity while two other devices were used to record video from two separate angles. Two different creative commons tracks from Sound Cloud was employed, initially to engage the viewer in the introduction and later to build an inspirational and optimistic atmosphere.
I employed the use of academic sources that explored both the role of assistive technology in assisting with vision impairment and the role of technology in reducing social isolation. I felt these texts were relevant as they not only explored technology in regards to the elderly but specifically explored vision impairment which I felt was especially relevant as it was a large area of discussion in my interview with Bill.
I struggled to incorporate academic sources into my interview so ultimately decided to create a short montage at the end of my film. This allowed me to include academic recourses as well as an opportunity to reinforce my contention to the audience.
I faced a variety of challenged throughout this assignment. One aspect I found most challenging was finding enough devices to record on that would allow me to record from two separate angles while recording audio on an independent device. To overcome this issue I employed the help of a friend as well as my sister who lent their devices to me and held cameras in place while I filmed.
Once filming was finished I discovered my interviews went for far too long and would have to be edited down to fit within the eight-minute time frame. To combat this I used overlay footage of the interview subjects using technology as well as shots from different angles. I also had a few issues when my Nan walked into frame and in front of the camera to offer the girls filming snacks. I was able to edit this section out but later on in the interview her and Bill began talking to each other. Although I would have been able to edit out this section I felt the content was too important to edit out so as a result had to cute out sections of film as well as employing overlay footage and a variety of angles to combat this.
Ultimately I felt that the past projects made throughout the semester provided me with the necessary skills to combat these issues faced as well as employ a variety of video techniques that allowed me to create a piece of film that I felt critically and constructively analysed the topic of digital divides.
Hersh, M, Johnson, M 2008, ‘Assistive Technology for Visually Impaired and Blind People’, Springer, retrieved 26 September 2018, https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=HIBPnRAhh-gC&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=assistive+technology+sight&ots=0CD7miWwCD&sig=881JapW8XKNcESVxFdFEYReVafc#v=onepage&q=assistive%20technology%20sight&f=false
Regina, Chen, Schulz, Peter 2016, The Effect of Information Communication Technology Interventions on Reducing Social Isolation in the Elderly: A Systematic Review, National Centre for Biotechnology Information, retrieved 26 September 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4751336/
Inspirational Life (https://soundcloud.com/royalty-free-music-soundotcom/inspirational-life-100-free-download-royalty-free-music-inspiring-upbeat-corporate) by Royalty Free Music (CC by 2.0)
Blossoming Inspiration (https://soundcloud.com/royalty-free-music-soundotcom/blossoming-inspiration-creative-commons-royalty-free-music-inspiring-upbeat-corporate-happy) by Royalty Free Music (CC by 2.0)