Sunday, December 2, 2012

Social Media Presence Tops Fortune 500 Company Goals.

Partial List of Fortune 500 Companies with Active Twitters
With the new networking capabilities that the internet offers, businesses are focusing their efforts toward portraying their corporate goals to the public online through social media. A  2012 survey confirms this trend; 73% of all Fortune 500 companies now have an active twitter. Companies have been catching on and realizing that the internet offers an innovative venue for public relation offices to discuss corporate practices and their role for a better society because when the public perceives the company as ethical, the company gains many advantages: more customers, better reputation, reduced employee turnover, and avoidance of lawsuits.

Companies and public relation offices are increasing their presence in the virtual world.

Dr. Donald Wright and Michelle Hinson performed a three-year long survey of public relation practitioners, which examined the impact of social media on public relations. This survey was published in the Public Relations Society of America’s Journal in the spring of 2008. The publishing includes several excerpts from companies such as Microsoft, Dell, and Sun that describe corporate blogs as “sticky [because] readers check back several times a day. And posts get linked to other sites amplifying their impact.” Other quotations highlight the benefits of blogs because they are free and efficient for communicating externally, but internally with other employees. The final conclusions determined that the percentage of employees that thought blogging should be allowed during work hours jumped 6 percent from the previous year from 38% to 44%. There was a 4% increase in companies conducting their own research on blogging since the previous year. To update the information found in The Public Relations Journal, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth conducted a study in 2012 that discovered that companies in the Fortune 500 are switching from individual corporate blogging to more social networking venues such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In terms of how much corporations are investing in social media, 71% of the Fortune 500 companies plan on increasing their budget and 25% will keep it the same.

The “Blogosphere” is a great opportunity for companies to promote their social responsibility.

Corporate social responsibility, a crucial part to an ethical business, is “the concern businesses have for the welfare of society, not just for their owners” (Understanding Business). “Corporate Social Responsibility in the Blogosphere,” a study published in the Journal of Business Ethics (2010), analyzed the “structural embeddedness of a prototypical blog in a virtual community [to show] the potential of online platforms to document corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.” The study analyzed the corporate blog of McDonald’s, a company already known for its philanthropy from programs like the Ronald McDonald Houses for critically ill children. The analysis consisted of the links to the blog (which perform as a network), the recording of the followers and guests, and counts of posts with word counts. McDonald’s “Open for Discussion” blog had approximately 11 authors and 53 posts with an average word length of 375 words. Each post received about 3 comments in response. The network analysis came to the conclusion that the blog had about 228 nodes (other websites linked to the blog and posters). With more in depth analysis of the blog and its networks, the study was able to identify its most influential stakeholders and where their interest lies.  The study concluded that blogs “provide a new means of access to stakeholders” and “blogging about sustainability issues takes patience and openness, and interaction should be sincere and transparent in order to be fruitful.” Blogs, in a sense, offer the ability for a company to receive constant feedback, which can call for beneficial changes in operations.

The Internet makes companies more “transparent.”

Business transparency, as Professor Richard Hutchins defines, is “when the company has nothing to hide.” Thus, transparency means ethical. All publicly traded companies must send in their financial statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Hutchins states that many financial statements are easily available online at and recommends Yahoo Finance as a site with valuable information that the average citizen has access to. With a little background knowledge of financial sheets, citizens are able to view where a company is spending their money and how much it is profiting. The public financial filings act as one of the deterrents of unethical practices in the accounting field, which Dr. Gary Bulmash—Professor at the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland—identified in the video.

Being an ethical business is more than just following the laws and regulations set forth by the United States government. 

Understanding Business, a textbook used for introduction to business courses at the University of Maryland, defines ethics as “society’s accepted standards of moral behavior.” This moral behavior is perceived as “right” compared to the “wrong” or unethical behavior.  The new social media that has evolved in the past years has opened a new venue for public relations. Companies can take advantage of the new domain for instant communication with customers that voice their opinions and feedback.

Fellow students prefer corporations that use social media.

 A freshman at the University of Maryland, Brian G. likes the idea of business tweeting.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Brian's Opinion on Corporate Tweeting

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Social Media Influences Business Protocols - Topic Outline

Post Title: “Social Media Influences Business Protocols”

Business ethics and public relations are how a business communicates their moral standards to society

In this paragraph, I will go into depth, using some information out of my business textbook to explain the ethical goals of a traditional business. I will then incorporate some of my professor’s information into the paragraph to expand the topic into more current events. I will be able to draw links to past ethical failures and successes of companies.

Social media is changing the way businesses communicate with the public.

This paragraph will explain how the introduction of social media may change the way businesses plan to communicate with the public. I will use information found in the Journal of Business Ethics. This information will touch on topics such as “corporate social responsibility” and “transparency.” I can include a couple key interview videos from my professor regarding transparency.

Companies can change the way they operate.

I can pull information from a paper, published by the Public Relations Society of America, which will explain how companies can adapt to the new technology. This publication explains what companies can do specifically for public relations; while my professor may offer some insight on how companies may change ethically and problems that could possibly occur.

Social media may make it easier for everyone to see a business’s corporate social responsibility.

I will use the rest of my information found from section five “convergence” from the book Putting the Public
Back in Public Relations. I will also offer statistics relating how many companies now use online social media. This paragraph will conclude my research paper.

Some citizens are fans of the new way businesses use social media to express their corporate goals and initiatives.

Here, I will use some non-expert audioboos from friends and family that will give the audience a feel of whether or not they feel businesses with online presence are perceived as better than competitors that do not operate, at least somewhat, online.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Floor-mate light-heartedly discusses technology.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mobile Problems Reflect Participation Gap

A study by Pew Research Center provides information that helps illustrate a participation gap with mobile users.
According to the study, the majority of adults have cell phones (88%). The problems experienced however vary wilder from dropped calls to slow download speeds. The difference in problems experienced by the participants surveyed develops the idea that the different problems occur because some people are less knowledgeable about the technology and use it for different reasons.

Ethnicity affects the participation gap.

The study revealed that non-white cell phone owners “confronted all four problems at somewhat higher weekly rates than do their white counterparts.”  The research center offered a reasoning that this cause may be due to the fact that African-Americans and Hispanics are “more likely than whites to rely on their cell phones as their primary or exclusive phones for calling and for internet.” The participation gap is evident when analyzing problems occurring between cell usages among different ethnicities. Minorities may not have home computers or landline phones and rely heavily on their cellular devices.  Problems could also occur because minorities may not have the same knowledge of the National Do Not Call Registry, which would free them of all the spam calls and unwanted texts.

Smartphones may increase the participation gap.

Smartphone users observed more problems in each category compared to non-smartphone users. The research said that there was statistically significant difference between smartphone users and non-smartphone users in the categories of dropped calls, spam text messages, and slow download speeds. This finding illustrates the participation gap because as phones become more evolved, people will experience a lag time, during which they will have to learn new methods of using the technology and ways to avoid problems. The time when people are learning the new skills and ways of using smartphones will create a participation gap which will show how previous owners pick up the new technology with ease, as compared to the new learners who will take longer to learn.

I predict that the participation gap will expand when new technology first comes out, but will get smaller as the population adapts to how to operate the technology.

Companies will be continuously putting out new devices and operating systems on the market for the public to buy. As the technology gets more and more advanced, the learning curve will take longer. I predict that the participation gap will be at its peak during the time when the products are just released. As time goes on, people will become accustomed to operating the new device and the ways it can be used, therefore the participation gap will be closing. My opinion is that participation gaps fluctuate depending on how long technology has been used by the public.