Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


Cork Institute of Technology

First Advisor

Emmet Coffey


There has been an increased interest from academics, public relations professionals and industry professionals in the importance of social media in the role of public relations. This study aims to contribute to the understanding of the effect social media has on the celebrity industry, from a public relations perspective.

A qualitative research design was chosen, and the primary methods used to gather the data were semi-structured interviews with online communication professionals from the public relations industry and an online music producer who uses various forms of social media to distribute and promote his music. All interviewees were chosen due to their insight and knowledge pertaining to the topic. The interviews are supported with a focus group where participants were chosen due to their knowledge and their exposure, as consumers, to celebrities and social media.

The research findings show how social media is changing the role of PR in relation to the celebrity industry. Through the research process, the author learned of the exposure that arises for celebrities from embracing social media, and also the benefits of social media for the PR industry.

It can be concluded that there are both advantages and disadvantages to these industries adopting social media; and while some have progressed to implement it successfully, many PR practitioners as well as celebrities are in the process of learning how to practice social media activities to the best effect. Both industries are experimenting with the platfomis of social media, and those who are tuned in and observing this new phenomenon are beginning to reap the rewards.

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