Brands and Media Gatekeeping in the Social Media: Current Trends and Practices – An Exploratory Research

Brands and Media Gatekeeping in the Social Media: Current Trends and Practices – An Exploratory Research

Georgia-Zozeta Miliopoulou (DEREE – The American College of Greece, Athens, Greece) and Vassiliki Cossiavelou (University of the Aegean, Mitilini, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/IJITN.2016100105
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine current trends and practices regarding brand communication through the social media, as brand activation in the online social environment rises and proliferates rapidly. Believing that further interdisciplinary contributions are needed to bridge the gap between brand management on the one hand and ICT potential on the other, the authors designed and implemented an exploratory research. They interviewed middle and senior-management executives, working either in companies who promote brands in the social media or in agencies who undertake social media projects and tasks. The authors' results indicate that gatekeeping remains an integral and very important aspect of social media brand management. Most brands consider what to release rather than what not to. They withhold information based on a narrow campaign-oriented mindset which reflects traditional marketing and public relations' practices and has not embraced the requirements for transparency and openness that prevail in the digital and social media environment.
Article Preview

Literature Review

In this new, still fluid landscape where new terms and ideas like “brand journalism” emerge (Bull, 2013), the media gatekeeping filters ought to be reexamined. For more than fifty years, media gatekeeping has been among the most influential contributions in communication theories. Articulated by Shoemaker and Reese, this model outlines five dimensions of content filters, namely: individual influences, professional routines, organizational influences, extra-media influences and the cultural environment. Digital technologies have a profound effect on each of these filters because they enable interaction on a “many-to-many” scale and strengthen extra publisher influences (Cossiavelou, Bantimaroudis, 2009).

The approach of brands as publishers calls for a reexamination of the agenda-setting for potential customers, especially for product and service content that will manage to inspire trust and lead to purchase (Hermida et al., 2012). The relationship among content generator -the brand- and content retriever -the consumer- is crucial for this agenda- setting.

Specifically, it is noted that the individual filter seems to become a fuzzy concept as new practices emerge and need to be redefined and researched. For the second dimension of gatekeeping, evidence shows that brands allowing highly critical comments from both individuals and lobbying groups constitute an exception, while new skills are required to understand and manage online communities (McWilliam, 2012). As the quality of the conversations could matter more than the quantity of followers and as the social media constitute an opt-in environment, new requirements emerge that create complexity and affect the business models of big brands. As a result new strategies and solutions have to be adopted, and this also affects budgeting decisions.

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Reset
Open Access Articles: Forthcoming
Volume 9: 4 Issues (2017)
Volume 8: 4 Issues (2016)
Volume 7: 4 Issues (2015)
Volume 6: 4 Issues (2014)
Volume 5: 4 Issues (2013)
Volume 4: 4 Issues (2012)
Volume 3: 4 Issues (2011)
Volume 2: 4 Issues (2010)
Volume 1: 4 Issues (2009)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing