Social media is having a profound, but not yet fully understood impact on public relations. In the 24/7 world of perpetually connected publics, will public relations function as a dark art that spins (or tweets) self-interested variations of the truth for credulous audiences? Or does the full glare of the internet and the increasing expectations of powerful publics motivate it to more honestly engage to serve the public interest?

The purpose of this book is to examine the role of PR by exploring the myriad ways that social media is reshaping its conceptualization, strategies, and tactics. In particular, it explores the dichotomies of fake and authentic, powerless and powerful, meaningless and meaningful. It exposes transgressions committed by practitioners—the paucity of digital literacy, the lack of understanding of the norms of social media, naivety about corporate identity risks, and the overarching emphasis on spin over authentic engagement. But it also shows the power that closely networked social media users have to insert information and opinion into discussions and force "false PR friends" to be less so.

This timely, challenging, and fascinating book will be of interest to all students, researchers, and practitioners in Public Relations, Media, and Communication Studies.

Winner of the 2016 NCA PRIDE Award for best book

chapter 1|15 pages

Identify the problems

Social media and public relations

chapter 2|19 pages

“Don’t do anything stupid”

Social media affordances, policies, and governance agendas

chapter 3|11 pages

Create yourself

Corporate identity for interconnected publics

chapter 4|20 pages

Speak the truth

Transparency, power/knowledge, and authenticity

chapter 5|18 pages


One-way, two-way, and every-way

chapter 6|22 pages

Connect creatively

Worlds, identities, publics as content production and co-production

chapter 7|20 pages

Engage critically

Activist power

chapter 8|18 pages

Protect yourself

Issues of privacy and regulation

chapter 9|20 pages

Know your risks

A collective orientation

chapter 10|20 pages

Navigate the issues

Situating power/knowledge within public relations

chapter 11|22 pages

Reshape policy

Public–private clashes and collaborative dialogue

chapter 12|10 pages