Social media networks have a lot to offer those in public relations, but after following USANetwork, on Twitter, I saw how social media can be used as a research method.
According to Lori Merricks, research means “getting current” or “finding the trends.” One way she suggested doing this is by cruising the isles at Walmart, simply noticing what is and is not popular in today’s society. But for a television network, this type of research is not logical. A research method that would be more precise for a network is called content analysis.
Content analysis, found in Public Relations the Profession and the Practice, “allows the researcher to systematically code and thereby quantify the verbal content of written or transcribed messages (p.95). Twitter is a unique tool that can help use content analysis to research whether or not a particular message is being portrayed clearly, and to find different trends..
@USANetwork, USA Network’s Twitter name, uses this research method quite frequently by directing their followers to their personal website by positing different shows, games, polls and so forth. These draw the publics into the website, and can give feedback.
When USA Network responds to the publics complaints or suggestions, they are upholding an open system theory which is good public relations for the network.