June 4, 2015
Put Uses and Gratifications theory into current practice: How do YOU use the media? How do you encourage others to use or interact with media outlets, particularly in your field? What “types of needs” as discussed in the lecture are you seeking to gratify through media use? What evidence do you see of U&G at work today, especially related to PR and corporate communication? (Be specific and provide examples where appropriate. As always, remember the rules of netiquette).
Personally, I use the media largely for entertainment, but also as a source of information for what’s happening in both my local/national community, and within the industry I work. I listen to satellite radio, where I obtain most of my entertainment news on my commute in the morning, alongside current pop songs. At work and throughout the day, I check my Facebook feed and if time permits, I also surf local media outlets’ websites, specifically the Orlando Sentinel and Mashable.com. I’m on email constantly throughout the day, both for professional and personal use, and monitor “promotional” email for trends, ideas, and ways in which we can replicate to our audience. In the evening, I general multiscreen with entertainment television programming while scanning Facebook and occasionally Twitter.
Within my field, we leverage our social and email channels heavily to communicate new offers, programs and attractions. This past week, our company announced two new attractions for our leading Florida theme parks, specifically Mako at SeaWorld Orlando, and Cobra’s Curse at Busch Gardens Tampa. While both announcements relied on traditional PR and media outlet activations within the parks, it was our social channels on YouTube, Facebook and blogs, and our email list of fans and Pass Members, that we activated and communicated with directly. It’s our super fans that we want to make feel, “special,” and be the “first to know” for new attraction details and events.
Concurrently, we’re using these same channels to monitor our competition, maintaining a “cognitive” approach to our industry and learning how it may shape or impact our business moving forward. On the same day as our Busch Gardens announcement, Universal Studios Orlando announced an entirely new water park, Volcano Bay. Within the travel and tourism industry, a new park typically beats a new attraction for press coverage, and the effect was definitely felt with the number of “hits” we received from media outlets.
Overall, these types of attraction and event announcements, both by us who work in the industry and our guests who enjoy the products and services we deliver, fulfill a great many needs within the Uses and Gratification Theory. For our fans and Pass Members, a new attraction or theme park creates, and hopefully motivates, a desire to visit and experience; to be the “first to ride.” They share stories and excitement through our direct interactions, but also among each other through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Ultimately, visiting a theme park is a diversion from the norm; a stepping away from the reality of day-to-day life. Even within the industry, working within our parks is unlike any other place of business and satisfies that desire of ourselves and guests to “escape.”
MMC6400, Uses and Gratifications, Web Theory,