The Impact of Social Media on the PR Industry in the UAE

The Public Relations industry has faced dramatic changes in the past few years in terms of new technology and media channels as well as new opportunities for communicating with clients and businesses. The main reason for this is the emergence of social media networking which enabled customers to easily and quickly engage in a two-way communication process with companies For businesses on the other hand this represents a huge challenge of how to effectively handle the new forms of engagement so that they now realize the increasing importance of public relations as an organisational function. However, social media is still a big challenge for the PR industry itself. That is why this study aimed to research this new development and find comprehensive insights into what exactly happened and how should PR practitioners better approach new media opportunities in the UAE. The age of ‘we talk, you listen’ style of company communication is gone; the dialogue with stakeholders is the only way forward, because the emergence of social media has changed the way consumers form opinions and make decisions (Flint, 2009). Therefore, many PR specialists, including Brown, Solis, Scott and others believe that we are now at the peak of a magnificent era for the PR practice. It also means that there are new tools and new techniques needed to meet client’s needs and requirements. Butterick (2011) mentions that the use of digital media has transformed our channels of communication and the journalism practice (closely linked to PR), which in turn has had and will continue having an enormous impact on public relations. The research is sought to identify these ‘new ways’ and ‘new things’ of how PROs work.

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