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Share This Too: More Social Media Solutions for PR Professionals by Stephen Waddington, Rob Brown, Chartered Institute of Public Relations

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Chapter 33

The Public Relations Power of “Big Data”

Simon Collister

According to IBM 90% of the world's data has been created in the past two years, due to social media's rapid growth.280 This chapter argues “Big Data” has practical applications for PR and can secure a future for the industry.

Public relations, according to the CIPR, involves “the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain […] mutual understanding between an organization and its publics”.281 The context within which these relationships must be established and managed, however, is highly fluid.

As PR academic Anne Gregory points out “society is changing: new issues and trends arise, some of them very quickly.”282 For PR practitioners, being able to identify and track such trends, recognize their potential impact and adapt communication strategies accordingly is a daily challenge. This challenge is made all the more complex by our contemporary networked society where the proliferation of social technology, an increased willingness to share information and the empowerment of individuals is transforming political, economic, social and technological environments faster than ever before.

This chapter will suggest that the ever-increasing flow of information driven by socially networked individuals – increasingly referred to as “Big Data” – is both the catalyst for such breakneck dynamism as well as a potential solution to help PR practitioners manage this rapidly changing organizational environment. The ...

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