Communication Roles of Social Media
Technology is fast transforming how people do things, and much is expected to change even as people move to the future because now, it is possible to communicate in more effective ways that witnessed before. The report uses a section of Graham and Avery’s primary text to illustrate how social media enhance communication across various areas. The study shows that even as social media presents many ways of improving the communication process, it is essential to consider the possible constraints that derail the attempts to use the technology innovation to enhance how people send and receive messages. The various groups using social media such as government institutions, individual users, business firms, and learning institutions should consider opportunities that could improve their capacity to benefit from the technology such as increased internet coverage and escalated acquisition of web-enabled electronic devices. Identifying suitable ways of using social media may help to ease communication now that people have to attend to so many things and communicate at the same time.
Utilizing data gathered from 463 officials working for the local government from various municipalities across the U.S. Melissa Graham and Elizabeth Avery assess the utilization of social media platforms by local governments and their views of social media usage by members of the public. The work examines how social media platforms are utilized as public relations tools that enhance transparent, participatory, and democratic models across a broad range of governmental contexts. The survey discovers that social media avenues are quite underutilized by public institutions, with nearly 70% overall use capacity (Graham and Avery 1). The study also discovers that most state officials limit their selves to the use of Twitter and Facebook thereby limiting their reach and interaction with many other people who use other social media avenues. The study, however, focuses on the section where Graham and Avery argue that the presence of social media serves as a mark of a transparent and vibrant communications strategy. The surveyors and authors believe that government officials now have more tools and avenues to interact and communicate with members of the public than ever before, quoting the findings of a recent study that showed approximately two-thirds of adults use social media avenues for communication purposes. Graham and Avery (2) feel that social media avenues are changing the way organizations communicate with their stakeholders, and that the communication across various groups becomes fast and convenient. The communication benefits that come with social media require more research to understand how the technological innovation impacts on various areas.
Social media refers to a form of interaction where people form, share and exchange ideas and information using virtual networks and communities. Often, social media avenues serve as web 2.0 internet-based features that rely on user-generated content such as comments, digital photos, text posts, video, and data formed through other online activities. Graham and Avery (3) refer to social media as focusing on the idea of read-write platform, where the online audiences move past passive use of online content to practically adding onto the content. Social media platforms allow users to form service or user-specific identities and profiles for the app or website that are created and managed by a specific social media firm. Social media has gained prominence because the technology facilitates the creation of social networks online by linking a specific user’s profile with that of other groups or individuals. Users can access social media through internet-enabled apps on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Today, people can enjoy the services of various popular social medial channels that all help to ease communication. People, for example, can use blogs to conduct casual discussions and dialogues on specific opinions and topics, and can also utilize other platforms such as YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook among others. A common feature with social media is as users interact with the services, they form highly interactive avenues through which organizations, communities, and individuals can share, engage, form, alter, or discuss self or user-generated content put online.
The function of the Text
The findings by Graham and Avery inform on the benefits of using social media in enhancing communication practices among individuals and corporations. Subramanian (70) writes that social media has influenced various areas of modern life, and has paramount effects on inter-personal communication. Subramanian (70) argues that the contemporary time is characterized by serious lack of time for families and individuals because both the husband and wife have to go to work to meet their basic requirements. Time has become an important resource, and people are coming up with proper ways of saving time because of their lifestyle. People require interaction to meet their social wants and social media has increasingly become a suitable medium for communication with the spread and growth of mobile and digital technologies. The survey by Graham and Avery insinuates that digitization has lowered the face-to-face interactions of people whether it is for personal communication or marketing. Several factors make social media appealing to users, especially for communication purposes. The main factor is the online avenues present ways of communication that deviate from the traditional approaches of sending and receiving messages. Social media avenues such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, for example, presents the opportunity to send and receive images, documents, videos, and other sounds, which improve the nature of communication across various groups or individuals (Subramanian 73). The other factor that makes communication appealing via social media is people have the chances of meeting new friends using the platforms that they use unlike traditional forms of communication such as the mobile phone where someone only interacts with a person on the other end. The other factor that makes social media an appealing form of communication is it allows users to keep a history of their communication, which may be essential in situations where contradictions may occur thereafter.
So far, various state and federal institutions employ the use of social media to enhance communication across departments, which indicate how the government appreciates the impact of the technological innovation. Levison-Waldman (527) argues that the easy availability of in-depth information about the activities of individuals has made social media a suitable communication tool for law enforcers. Levison-Waldman (527) identifies the office of the New York District Attorney and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to be heavy users of social media for communication purposes. The NYPD’s Intelligence Division, which comprises of a team of officers and detectives perceived as having advanced experience and knowledge of the latest technologies and street jargon also utilize social media to interact, assess, and predict criminal activities and other events that may warrant their attention. The government agencies are increasingly applying social media to enhance their communication practices because they realize the benefits that come with the technology, and because they recognize that many people and institutions are currently using social media to interact with others.
Apart from improving communication in government institutions, the primary text implies that it is possible to achieve improved communication outcomes in other areas that also use social media. Social media avenues present better opportunities for individuals to communicate with each other, and it is apparent that the number of social media users is increasing in the U.S. and in other parts of the world. Individuals choose the social media platforms that appeal to them, and that they feel is trendy. Business organizations are also using social media in large scale to communicate with various stakeholders such as customers, workers, suppliers and government officers (Subramanian 74). Today businesses use social media to carry out teleconferencing, which enable people to engage in meetings without having to be physically present. The innovation cuts the cost of travel and saves so much time, which makes social media even more use for communication. The education sector is another area that uses social media for communication purposes, in the way tutors and learners share much content about what they learn in class. The widespread use of social media in various sectors to enhance communication indicates that many appreciate its effectiveness as a communication tool.
The primary text also seeks to inform about the importance of understanding the demerits associated with social media use, especially for communication purposes. With regard to the presentation by Graham and Avery that despite the numerous communication merits that the government institutions can achieve by using social media channels, many state officials still confine themselves to the use of Twitter and Facebook that are the leading social media avenues. Unfortunately limiting one’s self or the institution to certain platforms of social media restrains interaction on a wider platform taking into account that so many people use other social media avenues such as Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram to reach out to others. The emergence of more social media sites and the growth of technology challenge people and organizations to explore as many social media platforms as possible to communicate with more individuals (Levison-Waldman 532). Other than using limited avenues to interact with others, social media as a form of communication presents other hurdles that require considerable attention and effort to overcome. A person, for example, must purchase an electronic device such as a smartphone or a computer to enjoy communicating via social media, which may be problematic for individuals who cannot afford such items. Other than having to purchase particular electronic devices to communicate through social media, users have to consider the possibilities of incurring additional expenses acquiring the internet that would allow the technology to function. Other than being costly, it is sometimes difficult to get internet connection in interior areas, or places with poor connectivity.
Social media use for communication purposes presents other challenges, which could derail the attempts to use the technology to reach out to others. Sometimes, it is difficult to trust the information on social media, especially if the originator is unknown. Whereas honesty, open dialogue and authenticity are vital when using social media, that is usually not the case because some users tend to give misleading or untruthful information, which interferes with the credibility of the information or data relayed through such avenues. A social media user, for example, may forward information that they are not sure about their content to other users, which may be misleading and inappropriate. The incredibility of the information as sometimes witnessed with the use of social media may have far reaching implications, especially in a business context where the truthfulness of the data or information is very essential. Social media users must know that in this period of escalated mistrust and scrutiny by members of the public, transparency is important to achieve effective relations in all areas (Levison-Waldman 535). People should be able to get information that concerns them, and should have the freedom to indulge in decision-making, especially in the political sector where the accountability of the state and federal institutions really matter to members of the public.
Organizations that use social media for marketing and communication purposes have to incur additional cost by hiring experts to manage the use of the platform for various purposes, as well as install electronic components, including hardware and software to facilitate the functioning of the social media platforms. It is imperative to come up with proper ways of easing the challenges associated with the use social media to achieve a situation where the technology improves communication practices and experience. Such installation may require high expenditure, but the benefits are long-lasting because the institutions will enjoy the benefits of enhanced communication for many years. Firms, therefore, should not relent in their attempts to develop better components that would promote effective communication practices.
Meaning of Text as a Whole
The Graham and Avery’s text primarily advocates for the installation of effective mechanisms to facilitate and regulate the use of social media to enjoy the benefits that come with the technology, and to regulate the limitations associated with its use. The use of the government institutions to show the constraints that still derail the use of the technology as it comes out in the primary text indicates that increased awareness is required to sensitize people how they can use social media for their own benefits, especially in enhancing communication (Graham and Avery 5). Stakeholders in different areas should know the essence of overcoming the challenges associated with using social media to enhance communication. Government institutions, for example, should consider how factors such as legal constraints, weak public view, weak professional development, and politics derail their capacity to effectively use the available social media avenues (Graham and Avery 5). Equally, other organizations that use social media for communication should watch out for similar constraints to instill mechanisms that would provide a great platform to reach out more people in creative ways.
It is imperative to create the regulations offer everyone, including individuals, department administrators, and communication professionals with fundamental guidance on how to suitably employ social media towards achieving communication objectives. Creating effective measures to govern the use of social media as an account holder or contributor make it possible to use the various channels appropriately, safeguard professional and individual reputation, and adhere to the guidelines set to define usage. The regulators also hope that the guidelines initiate interactions and studies among social media researchers and practitioners regarding ways of improving usage and overcoming inherent challenges. More specifically, the regulations and researches on social media should offer more insight into responsible use of various avenues, proper ways of solving conflict of interest, ways of avoiding copyright violation, and effective ways of using visual identity among other aspects that could improve use. The U.S. government tries to enact policies to regulate improper use of online systems, but still cases of social media misuse are evident, especially in incidences where people commit identity thefts, impersonation, or discriminate against the other because of their color, race, religion, sexuality, economic status, beliefs, or education background.
Limitations of the Text
The text by Graham and Avery presents several strengths in the way the authors present their ideas regarding the use of social media in communication, but also depicts certain limitations, which influence the nature of the work in considerable ways. The text would be more enlightening if the authors increased their use of other areas to illustrate the effects of social media in communication. The primary, research, however, dwells on government institutions, which require the support of secondary sources to bring out the real effect of social media on communication. Nonetheless, the authors present so much information about the how social media enhance communication, which makes the text relevant and informative. Learners, instructors, researchers and government officials may draw essential lessons from the text that they can expound on to come up with helpful information that would advance communication practices, now and in the future. More research should happen in the future to come up with more suitable solutions to some of the issues that derail social media use to develop a generation that would not spend so much time communicating with others, yet other appropriate and effective options are available.
The study reiterates that social media improves the nature of communication across individuals and groups, which encourages people, government institutions and business entities to embrace the technological innovation that continues to improve interaction in various areas. The primary text that focuses on the use of social media in government institutions provides essential awareness on the need to emphasize the use web-based interactions through platforms that link so many people and deliver messages instantly. Further analysis shows that social media improves communication in various areas and offers more captivating ways of sending and receiving information. The report elaborates the importance of understanding the possible weaknesses and constraints associated with social media to implement adequate measures that would improve communication. Institutions should equip their professionals with the latest technology to enable them identify proper ways of solving the issues that still impede effective implementation. Improving communication using social media require installation of internet and acquisition of web-based electronics, which may not be affordable for many households and individuals. Organizations and institutions should consider how members of the public perceive the organizational use of social media, and explore various platforms to attract a wide base. Lessons from the primary text as well as evidence from the secondary sources illustrate that institutions and individuals users can improve their communication using social media by taking advantage of the growing technology and by responding to the increased use of social media platforms by individuals and organizations, including state and federal institutions. The initiatives and efforts to improve how social media impacts on communication are commendable because times are changing and people require quicker, appealing, and reliable forms of transmitting and reviving information.
Graham, Missy and Avery Elizabeth. “Government Public Relations and Social Media: An
Analysis of the Perceptions and Trends if Social Media Use at the Local Government
Level.” Public Relations Journal, vol. 7, no. 4, 2013, pp. 1-21.
Levinson-Waldman, Rachel. “Government Access to and Manipulation of Social Media: Legal
and Policy Challenges.” Howard Law Journal, vol. 61, 2018, pp. 523-562.
Subramanian, Kalpathy. “Influence of Social Media in Interpersonal Communication.”
International Journal of Scientific Progress and Research, vol. 38, no. 2, 2017, pp. 70-