While public relations practitioners have long focused on the relationship between organizations and their stakeholders, there has never been a time when that relationship was so dominated by public participation. The new model of multiple messages originating from multiple publics at varying levels of engagement is widely acknowledged, but not widely explored in scholarly texts.
The established model of one-way communication and message control no longer exists. Social media and an increasingly participatory culture means that fans are taking a more active role in the production and co-creation of messages, communication, and meaning. These fans have significant power in the relationship dynamic between the message, the communicator, and the larger audience, yet they have not been defined using current theory and discourse. Our existing conceptions fail to identify these active and engaged publics, let alone understand virtual communities who are highly motivated to communicate with organizations and brands.
This innovative and original research collection attempts to address this deficit by exploring these interactive, engaged publics, and open up the complexities of establishing and maintaining relationships in fan-created communities.
'As the line between content producers and consumers increasingly blurs, this book takes an important step forward in bringing theory to bear on the way we proceed as communicators. The editors of this volume have brought together a varied and intrinsically interesting set of essays on topics that illuminate this new frontier, helping light the way forward while staying grounded in the wisdom of the past.' - Jessalynn Strauss, Assistant Professor, Elon University, USA
'This is an important and very timely collection. It expertly and engagingly fuses together the fields of public relations and fan studies, resulting in, not only a much-needed interjection into current scholarship, but also, an impressive and compelling read.' - Lucy Bennett, Research Assistant, Cardiff University, UK
'Today, public relations professionals and their publics are engaged in a dance of ideas that shapes and re-imagines interaction with organizations, services, products, and causes. Hutchins and Tindall's book focuses attention on the steps of this dance and shows us how the participatory space surrounding PR is fertile ground for authentic community engagement.' - Jennifer Jacobs Henderson, Chair and Professor of Communication, Trinity University, USA
'The field of public relations benefits in a number of ways from the insights within the new book Public Relations and Participatory Culture. Not only do the authors embrace fan studies literature, a field that has much to contribute to PR theory development, they also examine the interaction between these engaged publics and the growing importance of online communication and online communities. I strongly recommend you read this!' - Sarah H. VanSlette, Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, USA
"As one of the first attempts at placing these fans into communication theory, the editors – including previous Communication Director author Natalie T.J. Tindall (issue 04/2014) do an impressive job in compiling a diverse set of case studies to portray an overlooked phenomenon. Gamification, the Ice Bucket Challenge and Battlestar Galactica are just some of the cases featured in the book. Crucially, as with any good text seeking to inject new ideas into academic theory, the foundation chapters at the beginning of the book provide a firm outline of the dynamics of quickly-evolving participatory culture….If you are interested in any aspect of communications then you are sure to benefit from a greater understanding of the virtual communities that are impacting how we receive messages in our society." - Communication Reader
Part I: Foundations 1. Introduction (Amber Hutchins and Natalie T. J. Tindall) 2. Social Media, Promotional Culture and Participatory Fandom (Bertha Chin) 3. Public Relations and the Attempt to Avoid Truly Relating to Our Publics (Sam Ford) Part II: Theoretical Approaches to Public Relations, Engagement and Fandom 4. Encouraging the Rise of Fan Publics: Bridging strategy to understand fan publics’ positive communicative actions (Arunima Krishna and Soojin Kim) 5. Extending the Conversation: Audience reactions to dialogic activity on Twitter (Brandi Watkins) 6. Gamification in PR (Michelle Katchuck) 7. How the Top Social Media Brands Use Influencer and Brand Advocacy Campaigns to Engage Fans (Kelli Burns) 8. Brand Communities in Social Media: Strategic approaches in corporate communication (Clarissa Schöller and Romy Fröhlich) 9. Gearing Toward Excellence in Corporate Social Media Communications: Understanding the why and how of public engagement (Linjuan Rita Men and Wan-Hsiu Sunny Tsai) 10. New Media, New Media Relations: Building relationships with bloggers, citizen journalists and engaged publics (Amber Hutchins and Natalie T. J. Tindall) Part III: Brand Perspectives: Applying theories of public relations and fandom in corporate, government, and nonprofit spaces 11. General Mills: [Re]Manufacturing the gluten-free consumer community (Patricia A. Curtin and Dara Y. Curtin) 12. Boosters, Idealized Citizens and Cranks: City communicators share and moderate information in social media, but real engagement is messy and time-consuming (Jacqueline Lambiase and Laura F. Bright) 13. Brand Community Management via Google+ (Michael North, Cong Li, Fan Yang and Jiangmeng Liu) 14. What’s at Stake in the Fan Sphere: Crisis communication, skittles and how the Trayvon Martin case mobilized a fan-brand community (Amanda Kehrberg and Meta Carstarphen) 15. Riding the Wave: How the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge used storytelling and user-generated content to embrace slacktivism (Jamie Ward) 16. Facilitating the "Charged Public" Through Social Media: A conversation with Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay Club Members (Richard D. Waters)Part IV: Stakeholder Engagement and Communication in Traditional Fan Spaces 17. The Transmedia Practices of Battlestar Galactica: Studying the industry, stars and fans (Mélanie Bourdaa, Bertha Chin and Nicolle Lamerichs) 18. The Structuring of Fan Communities in Sport: A public relations perspective (Justin Walden) 19. Entertainment-Education and Online Fan Engagement: The power of narrative to spark health discussions/action (Heidi Hatfield Edwards)20. When Going Silent may be More Productive: Exploring fan resistance on Twitter to the Baltimore Ravens live-tweeting the Ray Rice Press Conference (Jimmy Sanderson and Karen Freberg)
Current academic thinking about PR and related communication is a lively, expanding marketplace of ideas and many scholars believe that it’s time for its radical approach to be deepened. Routledge New Directions in PR & Communication Research is the forum of choice for this new thinking. Its key strength is its remit, publishing critical and challenging responses to continuities and fractures in contemporary PR thinking and practice, tracking its spread into new geographies and political economies. It questions its contested role in market-orientated, capitalist, liberal democracies around the world, and examines its invasion of all media spaces, old, new, and as yet unenvisaged. The New Directions series has already published and commissioned diverse original work on: PR’s influence on Israeli and Palestinian nation building; its origins in the history of ideas; a Jungian approach to its ethics and professionalism; global perspectives on its professional practice; PR as an everyday language for everyone; as emotional labour; as communication in conflicted societies, and its relationships to cooperation, justice and paradox. We actively invite new contributions and offer academics a welcoming place for the publication of their analyses of a universal, persuasive mind-set that lives comfortably in old and new media around the world.