User-oriented appropriateness: a theoretical model of written text on Facebook for improved PR communication
, PhD thesis, University of Salford.
During the last decade, social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook have become normal tools for our daily communication. The rise and usage of these networks not only affected how we stay up to date, but their usage as tools for our daily conversations also affected the way we communicate online – including the ability to build friendly conversations and interpret each other’s messages.
The media industry, on the other hand, has discovered the powerful advantages of Facebook and is using it to communicate directly with their target groups. But, this online communication is different. PR people who have grown up using traditional media often struggle with this new, digital world and its unfamiliar techniques and language (Morris & Goldsworthy, 2012). An increasing number of users, on the other hand, do not struggle and might expect a different form of communication to interpret PR messages the right way.
While some research is available regarding public relations in an online world (e.g., Wright & Hinson, 2009; McCorkindale, 2010) and on computer-mediated communication (CMC) (Walther, 1992; Draft & Lengel, 1984; Rice, 1987) little empirical evidence has been offered on the impact CMC has on the usage of language and communication within the field of online PR specifically – and its interpretation by customers. As PR is concerned with communication and, according to CMC, the Internet influences the way we communicate and interpret communication, there is a clear need for research that investigates what affects clients’ interpretation of text- based public relations communication practices on Facebook. Employing a qualitative grounded theory approach and semi-structured in-depth interviews with users of
Facebook, this thesis presents the development of the new theory of user-oriented appropriateness, which explains the process of what affects the users interpretation of PR driven Facebook posts and of how to communicate appropriate on the SNS.
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