Our friends at Cision have just released their  2011 Cision-Newhouse School Digital Influencers Survey. It has some interesting findings and you can read the full research here.

Now, much as we love research and its findings, we do have to identify that Cision's research is often heavily skewed to the bias of selling media lists and the Cision services.  That said, we all benefit from understanding exactly how to use social media with the media.

The 2011 digital influencer survey shows that social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (with the impact of Google+ soon to be felt) continue to revolutionize how those who create digital content do their jobs: how often they post content (“file stories”) and how they identify stories and trends, cultivate and qualify sources, and share information.

But – perhaps even more importantly – it is apparent that social media has empowered anyone with a voice that resonates with a community to build influence and vie for the same attention and audience as traditional media.

These “other content creators” may not be connected to an established news organization or blog, but their “social capital” is so significant that they have a direct impact on consumers and other influencers.

Those who define themselves as journalists tend to have very different (and less positive) perceptions about the usefulness and accuracy of social media.

Yet all respondents agree that social media is a superior way to share stories, connect with communities, and make their voices heard.

Bottom line - what does this mean to PR agencies and organizations that use agencies?  Well, PR agencies need to use social media tools to inform/converse with journalists and those writing materials that customers are reading.  But they can't rely on them - social media needs to be integrated into journalist outreach.

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