Saturday, February 03, 2007

Today's Entry is Brought to You by the Letters P and R

Public Relations. Yikes. I am not a PR kinda gal, and yet I am going to need to know something about PR. So I did a cursory search of PR theory, decided that relationship theory seemed the most useful to my purposes and printed out a few papers from the Journal of Public Relations Research. Two of the papers are just trying to define what relationships are.

PR kills me. Especially PR research. I'm reading it and it sounds like such a lot of double talk. I know it's a valid and useful thing, but when you're talking about trust, openess, involvement, investment, and commitment as VARIABLES? It all seems a little insincere to me.

But it has value. I've discovered that I believe that blogging, done well (ie, the way I think y'all should be doing it), fits nicely into the whole relationship theory of public relations. The idea of relationship theory is that an organization and an individual can have a relationship. Yeah. It seems really self evident to me, but there is apparently this huge literature trying to pin it down. Yes, relationship is an elusive concept, but wow. I am blown away by how problematic it is in the literature.

But I am pleased to have found some nice grounding PR theory for my thesis.

AND. AND AND AND! I found this lovely article "The Effect of Web Characteristics on Relationship Building" by Samsup Jo and Yungwook Kim. And it uses real studies! They have a hypothesis (two, even!), an experiment, variables, the whole shebang. After reading almost nothing but literature based on literature with the occasional case study thrown in, I am THRILLED T-H-R-I-L-L-E-D! to find something with some kind of empirical evidence. And the conclusions support my belief that blogging is good. They tested some college students reactions to websites with different levels of multimedia and interactivity. They found, essentially, that interactivity is way good, but multimedia wasn't such a huge deal. The students sometimes got lost in the multimedia but related well to textual stimuli that was sincere. BLOGGING! HELLO!

Maybe it's the grande Mocha I bribed myself with at Starbucks talking, but I am very excited about this whole PR backing me up thing.

I have so much more I want to talk about, but I don't want to overload this post. Other things to talk about: Voice, Social Construction (or how Kenneth Bruffee is following me and I'll never escape my English major past), and Constructivist Theory. I am psyched about this thesis! Are you? Can you feel my love?

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