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Social Media Space in Public Relations Education
Amy Thurlow, Mount Saint Vincent University
Anthony R. Yue, Mount Saint Vincent University
The rapid adoption of social media and social networking tools by the disciplines of public relations and communication management has essentially mirrored the rise of the use of such tools by the population at large. Although social media has become an important component of curriculum development within faculties of professional communication, the focus has been largely on the technological skills associated with these media, and not the broader context of communication in which they operate (Jenkins, 2009). As public relations and communication management programs scramble to ensure students are exposed to new digital media technologies, there has been little recognition of the ethical implications of these media in terms of academic responsibility and jurisdictional boundaries within and around the virtual classroom (Scott, 2008).
In this poster presentation, we examine the results of interviews and subsequent focus groups concerning the boundary spanning aspects of social media and the morphing role of educators in such a luminal space. Early findings from this research concern ethics, authority, boundaries and complex competing understandings of the role of individuals in the social media space.
There are both theoretic and pragmatic consequences that arise from the ongoing experimentation with social media in, through and beyond the classroom. Are there implications beyond simple student training concerning this adoption of social media by educators? This study indicates that policy implications regarding the obligation of universities and other institutions to prepare students for use of social media may become increasingly important in professional studies education. Perhaps a “media literacy” approach may offer new possibilities for understanding the impact of new media technologies on professional education.
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