The dpa (German Press Agency) subsidiary news aktuell and Faktenkontor from Germany have questioned professionals and executives of the communications sector, as well as journalists regarding their private and professional usage and appreciation of social media.
From 9 February to 28 February, over 5,100 volunteers took part in the Internet survey. The representative results are surprising.
While PR agencies appear to be the pioneers of the social media wave, journalists haven’t even sighted that wave yet.
The results of the social media survey can be summarised as follows:
- PR agencies have understood the importance of social media channels such as Facebook, Xing, and Twitter and believe that the use of such channels is necessary in order to persist next to their competition.
- Journalists do neither see the importance of social media channels nor are they particularly active on them.
- 72.3 percent of PR agencies and 54.7 percent of Journalists stated that their customers’ or their own social media activity will increase significantly in 2011.
- Only a small percentage produces no or little content for social media channels (32.1 percent of PR agencies and 34.6 percent of Journalists).
How do such discrepancies come to be? On the one hand, PR agencies and journalists recognise the importance of social media but contribute only marginally in shaping them.
If this is really the case, journalists in particular are wasting an important source of information. It is vital for journalists to go with the times and learn as well as distribute news before anyone else has heard of it. In today’s Internet world, microblogging services such as Twitter can be of great use. It allows you to receive information first hand and without any time delay. This should be a gold mine for journalists. However, the Trend Monitor survey shows that they don’t seem to be aware of this yet.
Most employees of the surveyed PR agencies appear to have a different mentality in this regard. Although they too, contribute little to social media platforms (34.6 percent) overall, they have seemingly recognised the potential. 68.8 percent think that social media will revolutionise the PR work of companies. Only 51.4 percent of journalists think the same. 48.2 percent of the PR professionals see social media first and foremost as professional tools. Only 30 percent of journalists share that opinion.
The results of the study surprise trade professionals as well as the general public. The survey puts into perspective the assumption that journalists often use Twitter to generate information for their articles. How should we react to this information? What should be done? What is really useful and what should we pay attention to in the future? Journalists and PR agencies agree in one point: Facebook is the most important social media channel for their work. 77.7 percent of PR agencies and 59.3 percent of journalists are of this opinion. For PR agencies, Facebook is followed by Xing with 64.5 percent. For journalists it is Youtube with 48 percent. Third place for PR agencies is Twitter (55.8 percent) and Xing for journalists (42.1 percent).