Rethinking the Circuit of Culture: how participatory culture has transformed cross-cultural communication
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This paper explores the influence of digital communication − and in particular social media − on cross-cultural communication, based on the Circuit of Culture model. Scholarly literature supports the notion that social media has changed the speed at which we communicate, as well as removed traditional (geographical) boundaries around cross-cultural campaigns. Since the introduction of digital media, the role of the public relations practitioner has become more strategic in order to maintain relevance with even more diverse − and dispersed − audiences. Large scale campaigns, like the Human Rights Campaign to support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights, have seen messages spread far beyond the country of origin, and with that, demonstrate the ability to affect advocacy campaigns in other countries. The authors argue that instead of acting as cultural intermediaries, public relations practitioners must become cultural curators, with the skills to create meaning from audiences, who are now content creators in their own rights, and encourage a true participatory environment that sees cultural values shared as part of an organic exchange process.
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