This study investigates the place of social media in the practice of public relations in Delta State University Abraka. The advent of social media in the practice of public relations has changed the pattern of public engagement by public relation officers. The research adopted uses and gratifications theory of mass communication. A total of 180 copies of the questionnaires were administered. The place of social media practice of public relations is to enhance the coverage and connectivity strategies to effectively engage the public. The research concluded that social media use in public relations provides image making, news feed, and evaluation of response and clarification of misleading information. Delta State University should always update the students with academic information and frequently respond to student’s comments and likes.
1.1 Background to the Study
Human relations have been a major aspect to human existence. Due to behavioral differences the need to establish mutual understanding came up. This is what public relations do in any society. Olalekan (2003:19) “public relations is the art and science of studying societal behaviour, environment want and culture capable of influencing one’s undertakings with a view to reaching mutual understanding with eh people and organizations, in general communication, social responsibility activities and image management”. Individual understanding and community understanding is paramount in human existence.
According to Ogunsanya (1991:77) “public relations is a scientific management function which involves the creation building and maintenance of mutual understanding and respect between an organization or government and its publics, based on truth, using an effective two –way communication process within the framework of a credible strategic management agenda with a view to improving the performance of corporate institutions or government and enhancing the social and economic development for a society”.
According Jefkins (1978), public relations is a set of communications techniques which are designed to create and maintenance favourable relations between and organization and it publics. Well, Burnett and Moriarty (2003) pointed that public relations is management function practices by a wide range of organizations, companies, governments, non-profit organizations, the educational system, labour unions, politicians, organized sports, and the media. Their goal is to achieve positive relationship with various publics in order to effectively manage the organization’s image and reputation. Every organization wants to maintain good image in the eye of publics.
The focus on corporate communication by organization is of management of issue related public opinion. This is achieved through managing of image of the organization. Sandin and Simlin (2006), views corporate relations as corporate relation programmes that focuses on organization’s image and reputation. The goal is to persuade the public to perceive the company in a positive light. This can be use to manage crisis. Public relations have been a validated strategy in conflict resolution. Since, human are different in attitude and understanding, it take, public relation activities to bridge the communication flow for mutual understanding and respect of individual positions.
In human society, no man is self-sufficient or totally independent in the strict sense of word. Every man is ruled by the conflicts in the society. Olalekan (2003:11) states “conflict originates from everyman, so all men have to learn to manage the conflicts as members of the interdependent human society”.
It is important to note that virtually all human interactions and relationships contain characteristics of conflict that is disagreement. Ezeukwu (1998:328) views conflicts at interpersonal to be “a level reveals differences in personalities, values, and opinions. People become much more sometimes group members clash. This period of dissent and controversy is ripe for interpersonal communications failures. The more emotionally charge the discussion, the more prone group members are to jump to conclusion, lose their tempers, or interpret the comments of others as threats or criticism. Ogunsanya (1991:17) “public relations is a scientific management function which involves the creation, building and maintenances of mutual understanding and respect between an organization or government and its publics, based on truth, using and effective two-way communication process within the framework of a credible strategic management agenda with a view to improving the performance of corporate institution or government and enhancing the social and economic development of a society”
Public Relations are concerned with creating good image. The international Public Relation Association in Hague, in May 1960 defined Public relations as “a management function, of a continuing and planned character through which public and private organization and institutions seek to win and retain the understanding sympathy and support of those with whom they are or may be concerned by evaluating public opinion about themselves, in order to correlate, as for as possible their own policies and procedures, to achieve by planned and widespread information more productive cooperation and more efficient fulfillment of their common interest. Every organization is established to serve a purpose to the publics.
The very way the public perceive the organization is the very way the organization will be patronized by the public. Management of organizations keeps their publics so close through public relations.
Olalekan (2003:40) “Publics generally signify the different groups of people, associations and organizations that can be influenced by or affected in one way or the other by the existence and activities of another organization and vice versa. The effects on them can be good and desirable or bad, offensive and unwanted. They are the forces to reckon with in the assessment of its corporate image too”.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Conflict has been a common phenomenon in the society. Any attempt for human relationship will generate conflict as such, conflict is sine qua non. The means of managing conflict is paramount as their will help to foster peace and clear undefined terms and conditions of Bach party to conflict. In maintaining cordial relationship between and organization and it publics the need to use public relations as that which is concerned with not only elimination of communication gaps, but gives a prior attention to the analysis of trends, predicting their likely consequence and with planned programme of action tries to many the interests of the organization together with that of its publics.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The objectives to this study are;
1. Ascertain the place of public relations in Delta State University Abraka.
2. To ascertain how public relations is used in crisis management in Delta State University Abraka
3. To determine the role of public relations in image making in Delta State University Abraka.
4. To determine challenges of public relation in image making Delta State University Abraka.
1.4 Research question
1. What is the place of public relations in Delta State University Abraka?
2. How has public relations been used in crisis management in Delta State University Abraka?
3. What is the role of public relations in image making in Delta State University Abraka?
4. What are the challenges of public relations in image making in Delta State University Abraka?
1.5 Significance of the study
Public relations practitioners become heavily involved in crisis management in order to help in building and rebuilding an organization’s image. The main objective is to provide uncertainty.
Therefore, the utmost beneficiary of public relations activities in crisis management is the Delta State University Abraka because the reputation on the academic institution should be guided judiciously. The study will elicit information on how Delta State University can use public relations to project good organizational image that will make the Publics aware that the institution care for its public.
1.6 Scope of study
The scope of this study covers the public relations role in the making of Delta State University Abraka and how to manage crisis between the university and its publics.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Management: the art of coordinating and maintaining organizational policies in the favour of stakeholders.
Crisis: A point of disagreement between two or more parties claiming to maintain their interest which metamorphoses into disruption of peaceful coexistence.
Public Relations: A planned action for the establishment and maintenance of mutual understanding through effective communication.
Role: The duty of which one plays in achieving a particular objectives.