Web sites have emerged as a massively popular and important tool in public relations, marketing, organizational communication, political campaigns, and a host of other fields. However, only a tiny percentage of Web site research reflects the latest thinking in research and practice. The result of using these old approaches has been that research on homepages has been largely unable to address the most central question in all modern marketing and public relations research and practice: How can organizations can build and maintain relationships with their publics/customers? This relational focus has characterized marketing research and practice since at least the early 1980s and public relations since the late 1980s, yet Web page design and use has, on the whole, failed to adopt it. Web Site Public Relations steps in to fill this void and help move Web site research and use toward a more professional and theoretic foundation. This book is an original and rigorous attempt to build a model of the experience of visiting Web sites that places the visitor-rather than the sponsor or Web page-at the center of the experience. Although it is one of the first such attempts, this book's rigor, theoretic foundation, and genuine insightfulness suggest that it will stand the test of time and may well become one of the most influential works in visitor-centered research on Web sites and the Internet. As such, the findings reported here will be of interest to those who use the Internet, whether for personal or commercial purposes; as well as those seeking to study the social and behavioral effects of the Internet, including those seeking to study its effects on children and adolescents. This study focuses attention on the cognitions, attitudes, and behaviors visitors exhibit while visiting Web sites. The advent of what has come to be called Web 2.0 makes this book even more important than it would have been when older Web technologies dominated because Web 2.0 includes such things as user-powered content sites, and the like. A way to understand how visitors experience such Web sites is critical to learning how to harness their new potential. Web Site Public Relations will be an invaluable reference for those in the field of communication, public relations, and marketing.
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