CaPstone Research

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Last week I noted how Hofstra University graduate students had completed their master’s degrees in public relations by submitting various capstone projects filled with revealing research and insights. As promised, I’m featuring the best of them here.

Stephanie Adomavicius

First up is Putting the “Social” in Social Media: How human connection triggers engagement, authored by Stephanie Adomavicius. Stephanie wanted to “uncover what causes people to engage on social media, and identify the characteristics that make a photo and a video interesting.” Her research looked for the reasons people are compelled to share or click on certain content.

In addition to reviewing previous studies, Stephanie surveyed 110 college-educated men and women between ages 24 and 70 from the tri-state area to find her own answers. “Overwhelmingly,” she found, “83 percent of participants said the primary reason they joined social media was to interact and keep in touch with friends and family members, while only four percent said to follow news/trends or to receive recommendations (about a restaurant, book movie, hotel, etc.). The majority are either neutral or somewhat unlikely to share, like, or comment on a photo posted by an organization, yet 52 percent said they are very likely to share, like or comment on a photo that contains a friend or family member. Forty-one percent said they are very likely to share, like or comment on a video that contains a friend or family member.”

Drawing from the survey, published articles and interviews with social media professionals, Stephanie concluded: “Activities to do with friends is the most popular type of content to post about, while the number one influencer of social media engagement is the status of a friend or family member. Furthermore, the factor that makes both a photo and a video the most interesting and intriguing is people in it who you know.”

While this capstone project’s results may not be too surprising, it’s important that such studies are done to either confirm, rebuke or provide new facts and observations regarding what we think we already know. Through their research, these graduates’ work adds to our understanding of how we communicate. Your thoughts?

One thought on “CaPstone Research

  1. daniela gagliano

    This really is the key to what public relations is all about. One of our main goals is engaging our audience and connecting with them on a more personal level than marketing and advertising. The difference between the fields is the connection and lasting impact we want to have in the long run. To engage our audience, we first need to understand them and understand their goals. When we do that (target public) we can then tie in our goals as PR practitioners and see what makes sense for both groups. In public relations, our clients aren’t our customers, they are our patients and we are there to fix whatever problem needs remedying. We are also there to oversee their goals and guide them towards a positive result. In the end, our care and attention to detail is what changes people’s attitudes and beliefs and moves them to action.

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