Freberg, Karen, Palenchar, Michael J., & Veil, Shari R. (2013). Social media bookmarking services: Managing and sharing information from a centralized source. Public Relations Review, 39(3), 178-184.

Social media outlets are becoming mainstream venues for strategic communication practitioners, and how information is shared is critical. Analysis of social bookmarks regarding H1N1 demonstrate the CDC was the most popular reference for information, individuals were strongly present, blogs were the most popular type of documents, and Twitter is the most popular source being referenced. The applied communication literature has yet to address those stakeholders that are creating their own influence and messages online.

Social bookmarks were collected for the three key search terms―pork and food, H1N1 and food, and H1N1 influenza CDC—from October 28, 2009 to December 28, 2009. A total of 224 social bookmarks were collected through Delicious for the purpose of this section of the research study.

Key Findings:
1) Overall, the CDC was the most popular reference for the information that was presented and bookmarked on Delicious followed by YouTube.
2) Each bookmark that appeared on Delicious was in a different format – some were links to web sites while others had posted links to blogs and other social media platforms. The most popular type of documents consisted of blogs, web sites, news articles, and social media.
3) The most popular source that was being referenced in connection with the H1N1 was Twitter with 27,369 as of December 2009.

Implications for Practice
This research study makes the point that people are getting information from not just traditional news or even one source of information, but a wide range of different sources. From YouTube videos to Tweets to specific blogs, people are sharing information with others virtually from multiple outlets, which is the main point of social media.  Even with these challenges and risks, there is a golden opportunity to rise to the occasion with social media and this emerging medium. The role of the strategic communicators has to have both traditional and non-traditional skill sets that make them a more integrated communicator and business professional.

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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