About the Book

Spinning the Web: A Handbook for Public Relations on the Internet focuses on the connections between public relations and communication technology. That means it necessarily includes an introduction to that technology. However, it is not a technical book, nor it is it targeted to technicians. Rather, it is a handbook for Internet users who work in the field of public relations. This means that although the text does review basic processes in order to contextualize public relations for practice in the electronic environment, it targets the reader who has some understanding of basic public relations goals, strategies, tools, and functions. The aim is twofold: to guide you in developing 1) basic Internet literacy, including a general understanding of how to 2) develop and construct simple Web pages, in order to communicate intelligently with Web designers and other technical people with whom you might work.

Because Internet-based resources tend to change before a book sees print, the book does not include extensive listings of Web sites. However, up-to-date pointers and links to a variety of resources can be found in the online companion to the text. Topics for which additional materials may be found are marked in the book with a "Check the Web" icon in the left margin.


Table of contents:

Introduction & Overview

Chapter 1 Overview of Communication Technologies

    Learning Objectives
    Communicating through Computers
    System & Application Software
      Computer Operating Systems
      Computer Applications
    Levels of Computer Networking
      Stand Alone Computers
      Local Area Networks (LANs)
      Wide Area Networks (WANs)
      The Internet & World Wide Web (WWW)
      How the World Wide Web is Spun
    Communication Software
    Deciphering Web & E-mail Addresses
      Uniform Resource Locators for Web Sites (URLs)
      E-Mail Addresses
    Chapter Summary

Chapter 2 Overview of Public Relations
    Learning Objectives
    The Four-Step Public Relations Process
      A Word about Words...
    General Systems Theory
      Definition and Characteristics of Systems
    Implications of Systems Theory for Public Relations
    Chapter Summary

Chapter 3 Overview of Computer-Mediated Communication
    Learning Objectives
    Basic Models of Communication
      Simultaneous & Nonsimultaneous Communication
      Mechanistic Models of Human Communication
    A Mechanistic Model of Computer-Mediated Communication
    Understanding CMC from a Structuration Perspective
      Agency & Reflexivity
      Duality of Structure
      Practice & Time/Space Distanciation
      Integration & Institutional Reproduction
      Implications of Structuration for CMC
      The Emergence of New Publics on the Internet
      Internet Users as Target Publics
    Adaptive Structuration
    Chapter Summary

Chapter 4 Research
    Learning Objectives
    Thinking about the Research Approach
    General Strategies for Conducting Research
    Techniques for Conducting Internet Searches
      Types of Search Engines
      Developing Keyword Searches
    Discerning the Quality of Information on the Internet
      Determining Information Validity
      Determining Information Reliability
    Advantages & Challenges of Internet Research
      Qualitative Research Methods
      Quantitative Research Methods
    What You Need to Know before You Develop Your Client's Web Presence
    Chapter Summary

Chapter 5 Planning
    Learning Objectives
    Planning for Public Relations
      Writing Objectives for Public Relations
    Internet Resources for PR-MBO
    Planning the Development of a Web Presence
      Thinking Ahead
      Anticipating Change
    Chapter Summary

Chapter 6 Execution
    Learning Objectives
    Discovering New Capabilities through the 'Net
    Ten Tips for Practicing Good Netiquette
      Media Relations on the Internet
      Consumer Relations & Marketing on the Internet
      Investor & Financial Relations on the Internet
      Issues Management on the Internet
      Education & Outreach on the Internet
      Employee Relations & Employment Opportunities
      Government Relations on the Internet
      General Online Public Relations Techniques
    Developing & Launching a Web Presence
      Demystifying HTML
      Designing a Coherent Web Site
      Writing for a Web Site
      Hints for Launching the Web site
    Chapter Summary

Chapter 7 Evaluation
    Learning Objectives
    Measurement Techniques for Public Relations
      Types of Measurements for Communication
      Using the Internet for Evaluation
    Evaluating Internet-Based Programs & Campaigns
    Chapter Summary

Chapter 8 Special Uses of the Internet
    Learning Objectives
    Special Cases of Public Relations on the Internet
    Federal Express: Customer Support
    NASA: Education & Outreach
    Swissair: Crisis Communication
    Procter & Gamble: Rumor Control
    Chapter Summary

Chapter 9 Caveats & Constraints
    Learning Objectives
    New Challenges for Public Relations
    Hoaxes, Spoofs, Myths, & Urban Legends
      Proliferation of Internet Hoaxes, Myths, & Legends
      How to Recognize a Hoax, Myth, or Urban Legend
    Practicing Ethical Public Relations on the Internet
      Use of Images and Other Materials
      Self-Identification in Discussion Lists & Newsgroups
      Cookies, Registration, & Online Surveys
      The Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics
    Legal Issues: Privacy & Security
    Limitations of the Internet for Public Relations
    Chapter Summary

Appendix A
    Beginning HTML Tags


© Diane F. Witmer, All Rights Reserved
Updated February 2003