While exploring the world of internet public relations, I was presented with three articles: Abbey Levenshus’s analysis of Obama’s internet campaign, Ric Jensen’s discussion of internet environmental campaigns and transparency, and Rosemary Thackeray’s look into youth advocacy through social networking sites. Each presents an issue and a tool that the internet provides. The question of building upon these points to form a more cohesive look public relations and the internet is highlighted throughout their works as well as a general feel for an industry moving forward.

Levenshus’s views on Obama’s internet campaign provided an understanding about how an audience interacts online.  The internet has always been scene as a new media that gave a new look at two way communication.  User generated content is about dialogue as much as broadcasting, or at least allows for greater two way discussion. Understanding Obama’s internet uses shows another side of how the audience engages.  People were drawn to his content.  People watched Youtube videos and read Facebook articles.  People responded in such a massive volume that it overshadowed all other political campaigns and shined a light on the ways that the internet could be harnessed. Celebrities, ranging from entertainers to athletes to politicians, have managed to make a expansive message sound like a conversation.  Followers from all different realms of social networking are able to interact as if they were singled out for each announcement.  The relationships that are built and maintained can reach unimaginable numbers.

The relationships that are formed are developed from transparency. Transparency is just imagery for trustworthy.  If you can trust a person, you can build an honest relationship. Public relations is about establishing trust in its targeted audience.  Jensen pointed out a new level of deception with the internet.  Much how everyone used to believe “everything on TV” now it finds its hold on the internet in the ways.  Transparency and constant communication gives allows for the internet to build trust, yet at the same time the message can be misleading if not completely deceitful. The internet can challenge the foundation of trust as much as any media tool.

With trust being such a complex concept, it becomes difficult to build certain relationships.  Youth advocacy has always been tricky, whether it is a backyard grassroots campaign or a new media internet one.  Uses a medium that the youth is used to can provide more access to this group, but at the same time motivating them will always remain multifaceted.  The general skepticism will always remain, but the way that we build trust will need to reach a new level of clarity as well as transparency.  Understanding must be the next item for the internet to provide.  You can trust a person while not understanding them, but if you understand them you know why you can trust them.

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