Easter - 2018

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Communication Skill Change as a result of Social Media

Has social media changed the interaction with people in our communication skills?

I define communication as a transactional process unique in human beings by the exchange of symbols through verbal and non-verbal languages. For example, when I communicate with someone else, I am transacting symbols of communication with the other person and expect some response. The transaction continues as the person responds and the process continually builds on what was previously transacted.

If we agree on the definition of communication, then is there a change within our scope of the communication transaction as a result of social media? I believe there is and the first step in improving our communication skills is in acknowledging the changes.

A good case study is how our society has changed in the usage of magazine publication which was once a huge print business in the world. A good review of the impact on the magazine publishing world is written by Parul Jain, Zulfia Zaher, and Enakshi Roy in Magazines and Social Media Journal of Magazine & New Media Research. The title of their research and finding is Magazines and Social Media Platforms: Strategies for Enhancing User Engagement and Implications for Publishers. (3Vol. 17, No. 2 Winter 2017).

A few highlights of their work that I found worth noting for our question are:
  • “Most stakeholders expect organizations to have some presence on social media platforms, and a lack of it is considered unacceptable and non-normative in this day and age” (page 2). 
  • “Given the nature of social media platforms, an audience that engages with magazines can critique the content put forth by the magazine, create new content on that magazine’s social pages, interact with fellow readers, and express both positive and negative emotions online” (page 3).
Jain, Zaher, and Roy make a noteworthy quote for our question from Malthouse, Calder, and Eadie:
  • "Less engaged customer would be one who merely provides simple feedback, such as 'liking' an image on a social media platform, while a more engaged customer would be one who “actively engages in co-creation,” such as producing content for the brand"2 (page 4).
As we examine the changes in communication, we must also accept the use of social media platforms is a diverse field. In 2015 Magazine Publication Associate reported of the top five followed/liked magazine brands on media National Geographic and Vogue were listed. Interestingly, the vast diversity in the magazine’s primary theme was also reflected in the diversity of the platform in which the user was engaging the magazine in a social media setting. Which I see as a direct tie-in with Jain, Zaher, and Roy’s earlier statements that: “one of the main motivations for engaging with a magazine on social media was the accessibility of magazines across multiple social media platforms and various devices” (page 11).

In response, Jain, Zaher and Roy concluded: “Our findings suggest that the participants gratify different needs (such as home d├ęcor and fashion) utilizing specific platforms that are more likely to cater to those needs” (page 16). Another response is: “Magazine readers expect publishers to maintain an engaging and relevant social media presence” (page 18).

The changes are not limited to magazine publishing. The above is simply one case study which illustrates the larger truth: Social Media has change the scope of our communication skills. We are no longer a society focusing on one medium such as a magazine, newspaper, journal, or media outlet to access information. Social media allows for the reader to share the information across large audiences through their social media platforms. Communication as a transaction is evolving with the digital age. Social media expands readers access as well as allowing a reader to look beyond the vast material to a specific search criteria. It would appear as a result of social media, our communication skills are growing and increasing for the better while making “it is a small world after all.”

There is one thing that has not changed ... You know I love ya, Don

1. Parul Jain, Zulfia Zaher, Enakshi Roy, Magazines and Social Media Platforms: Strategies for Enhancing User Engagement and Implications for Publishers. Magazines and Social Media Journal of Magazine & New Media Research. 3Vol. 17, No. 2 • Winter 2017

2. Edward C. Malthouse, Bobby J. Calder, and Wayne P. Eadie, “Conceptualizing and measuring magazine reader experiences” (presentation, Worldwide Readership Symposium, Cambridge, MA,2003),285–306.


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