Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Communications

First Advisor

Emmett Coffey

Second Advisor

Gearóid Ó Súilleabháin


The primary purpose of this thesis is to investigate the phenomenon of social media networking in the Irish organisational context. The study examines how Irish organisations are utilising social media networking as a communication platform. The research assesses the aspects of phenomenon that provide organisational advantages in Public Relations. Therefore, aim of the study is to identify how social media networking is influencing customer engagement and brand awareness.

The first research phase comprises of an extensive literature review of key academic sources of secondary research including reports, articles and publications. This review cultivates a range of sources with insight into the background of the research. More importantly, the academic sources in this chapter will be utilised to justify the research findings and conclude with a final hypothesis.

A qualitative research process was conducted which included a case study approach of two Irish organisations, Barry’s Tea and Truly Irish. The research methodologies included two semi structured interviews with the organisations. The interviews were designed to obtain information from two social media professionals regarding their expertise and knowledge of the phenomenon who are similarly engaged in the research context. The purpose is to compare and contrast their interpretation of the phenomenon from an Irish business perspective. Secondly, a focus group was conducted including six participants who are fans of the Barry’s Tea Facebook page. The objective was to explore the subjects thoughts and opinions regarding the social media networks for the two organisations. The group discussion was based on the data obtained from the interview findings. Furthermore, the sample group is active social media users who are engaged in the phenomenon and are also fans of Barry’s Tea. Therefore, the subjects are relevant to the phenomenon and are familiar with the context. In addition it generates personal opinions from the customers perspective.

The research findings were compared and contrasted with one another and a list of key themes were identified and were validated with relevant academic sources. These themes are central to the research. On the basis of the results, it conveyed a positive view that social media networking does facilitate customer interaction as well as promoting brand image. It was concluded that Irish organisations can utilise social media networking to engage in two- way symmetric communication, to fosters positive relationships and online communities which ultimately enhances customer engagement and brand awareness.


MA in Public Relations with New Media

Access Level