The Impact of the Use of Social Networking Sites and Web Pages as Public Relations Tool of Government Agencies as Perceived by the Second Year Foreign Service Students of the Lyceum of the Philippines University

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THE IMPACT OF THE USE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES AND WEB PAGES AS PUBLIC RELATIONS TOOL OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AS PERCEIVED BY THE SECOND YEAR FOREIGN SERVICE STUDENTS OF
THE LYCEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES UNIVERSITY
CAVTE CAMPUS DURING SECOND SEMESTER
ACADEMIC YEAR 2011-2012

Darah Erika B. Aban
Anjanette T. Alejandrino
Nadine B. Guevarra
Anatrixia Pamela S. Pinzon

CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
Digital technology has revolutionised the way in which people communicate and share information – at local, national and international levels. Computers help individuals to create and consume information at unprecedented scale and at unprecedented speed. The social dimension of computing reminds us that computing is about people, not merely about information. According to Madison (2006) computing builds connections, networks, and pathways for information and activity channels that constrain the individual and enable the group. We should look for value in the social dimensions of computing; as matters of law and policy, therefore, we should look for ways to enhance and to limit–that social character. By definition, democratic governments should reflect public opinion and work best when the citizens are well-informed (Turney, 2009). Governments were among the first organizations to need, and to practice, public relations as a way of maintaining appropriate relationships with their citizens. There are various tools that can be used in the practice of public relations. Traditional tools include press releases and media kits which are sent out to generate positive press on behalf of the organization. Widely used tools include brochures, newsletters and annual reports. Increasingly, government are utilizing interactive social media outlets, such as blogs and social media as tools in their public relations campaigns. Unlike the traditional tools which allowed for only one-way communication, social media outlets allow the government to engage in two-way communication, and receive immediate feedback from the public.  The growth of web technologies has led to an explosion of social networking media sites. These have attracted millions of users worldwide, and offer a wide variety of methods that users can connect to others and share common interests. According to Kes-Erkul and Erkul (2009) social media have the capacity to change the relationship between the Internet and its users, and can change power structures and increase the opportunity for users to engage in greater community participation. Cole (2009) indicates that social media can be powerful tools governments can deploy to help rejuvenate civic engagement. Blogs, wikis, RSS feeds and social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have provided creative ways to recruit, engage, connect and retain employees. They have also provided an opportunity to facilitate strategic knowledge sharing across organizations and government agencies. This development has led to a greater interest in how governments can use tools and sites to reach a variety of users with diverse goals. Freeman and Loo (2009) claim that these technologies can be leveraged to transform the way governments provide online information and services, as well as interact with constituents and stakeholders. Romsdahl (2005) argues that more participation of government policy-making via the Internet could help revitalise dialogue between citizens and governments and promote greater participation by disenfranchised citizens and groups as they use these technologies to educate others about political issues in their communities. Furthermore, social networking is more recently being used by the public especially the youth nowadays.  As the social networking site's popularity increased, its services were quickly expanded to students at other universities and eventually to everybody (Lane, 2010). Social networks allow students to socialize in multiple ways. But as Lane (2010) sees it,...
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