In the early days the Internet consisted of one-way communications in the form of static websites and two-way communication through email. Over the past several years, the Internet has grown to the premiere medium for multi-way conversations. Just a few of examples include social interaction through Facebook, tagging in Technorati or Digg, and micro-blogging sites like Twitter. Even traditional websites now include user-generated content options like ratings, comments, forums and reviews. These sites have been enthusiastically accepted by the public, while search engines have recently begun to share real-time news and Twitter results about many hot topics.
With the growth of social media, online audiences have become more skeptical of traditional media, especially advertising, to make purchasing decisions. They want to listen to the opinions of “the crowd” to assure that they are making sound decisions.
Savvy public relations professionals, marketers and entrepreneurs are participating in these conversations and using social media to reach this broader, skeptical audience. By “listening in,” responding to, and providing worthwhile information in a transparent way, business people are finding social media participation to be an invaluable asset in their public relations strategies.