The people who were the audience now have access to their own media. People who were restricted to reading articles in papers or watching TV programmes or listening to the radio, can now blog, publish their own videos and create their own podcasts. The fact that these new tools are easy to use and highly accessible is driving the increase in usage of social media.
For some communications professionals, this is a daunting challenge. However the main opportunity for communications teams is to create their own social media distribution platforms.
By creating your own blogs, Twitter channels, YouTube channels, Flickr groups and so on, you can by-pass the traditional gatekeepers (editors/correspondents) you had to deal with in the past and communicate directly with your stakeholders.
Losing control of your messaging is not an issue so much when you develop your own platforms with your own stakeholders because this will give you influence with them and the opportunity to provide a more rounded picture of your organisation; you can rebut/correct stories; you can link to interesting articles; highlight videos worth watching and you can publish content which normally would not get coverage through traditional media due to lack of space, etc.
A number of our clients have picked up on this opportunity which is why they are now developing their own blogs. This is enabling them to join in relevant conversations with their stakeholders, reaching their stakeholders where they are now, as opposed to where they used to be (through traditional media formats).