It is not surprising that ‘new media is cited by practitioners and scholars as one of the biggest challenges facing the public relations profession’ (Dougall et al. 2001; Weaver et al. 2003; Zerfass et al. 2007 as cited in Chia & Synnott, 2009).
The dawn of new media has had a vast impact on the communication environment, with the increase of internet access on a global scale. Those who use the internet to blog, tweet, tube and so on, become constructers of meaning and can share their information and opinions on across the world.
As a result, this gives more opportunity ‘for publics to organise around a common issue, regardless of geographical location, time zone, or resources’ (Fitch, 2009). An example of this is the activist organisation website for PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals). The site embodies low cost communications and is also abundantly interactive, allowing the user to passionately partake in animal activism across various networks worldwide. This of course becomes an implication for any individual or organisation that is being targeted by PETA and a judicious response is not always available immediately (Fitch, 2009).
Evidence of this is shown though a number of examples on the PETA website, such as ‘Urge L’Oréal to Pull Cruel Monkey Commercial’ and ‘Ask Australia’s New Prime Minister to End Mulesing Mutilations‘.
On another note like Western public relations, Asian public relations does not employ just one singular theoretical model or context. ‘Economics and politics play important roles in the dynamics of public relations development, but the subtleties of difference are less evident than are the sociocultural and sociolinguistic differences that force situational variable analysis’ (Howell, 2009).
Fitch, K. (2009). New Media and Public Relations. J. Chia & G. Synnott, An Introduction to Public Relations: From Theory to Practice (pp. 333-357). South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.
Stanton, R. (2009). Focus on Asian Public Relations Management. J. Chia & G. Synnott, An Introduction to Public Relations: From Theory to Practice (pp. 357-385). South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.