Social Media and Public Relations: The Perception and Adoption of Facebook by Malaysian Public Relations Consultancies as Effective External Communication Tool


The explosion in social media, especially social networking site such as Facebook with increased connectivity and interactivity has caused many public relations (PR) agencies begun to recognize the need to embrace these new media for effective communication with a variety of internal and external audiences. Yet, researches examining the relationship between social networking sites and public relations are limited especially in Malaysia context, thus this study aims to examine the use of Facebook and its implication by Malaysian PR consultants as a communication platform in the agency. The objectives are to: (1) determine the use of different types of social networking sites by PR consultants; (2) investigate the use of Facebook amongst PR consultants for external communication; (3) find out the advantages and disadvantages of using Facebook for external communication; as well as (4) gauge the perception and adoption of Facebook amongst PR consultants as effective external communication tool. A qualitative research method was adopted. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with Malaysian PR consultants in the Klang Valley, Malaysia, who are members of ‘Public Relations Consultants' Association of Malaysia' (PRCA Malaysia). The participation of the respondents was voluntary. The results reveal that Facebook becomes an increasingly important communication channel for external stakeholders. Facebook has been adopted as a formal channel of communication in PR agency, yet it could not replace traditional media such as face-to-face, email and corporate website because they still play a vital role for external communication.

Author Information
Cheng Ean (Catherine) Lee, Sunway University, Malaysia
Frannie Low, Tunku Abdul Rahman College, Malaysia

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2013
Stream: Media Studies

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